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Friday, January 15, 2016

Destiny (Montana Dreams, #2) by Cait Jarrod

Image and blurb from Goodreads:

With the exception of one dear friend who treats her like a daughter, Autumn Wilcox keeps her heart closed off to others. Now this friend struggles with her last breaths and makes a request—for Autumn to find the elusive rainbow that will reveal her destiny. She doesn’t have faith in such tales, but for her friend, she agrees and seeks a pilot to take her to Bluebird Valley, Montana. 

After the death of his parents and his brother’s war injury, Travis Carson withdraws and his heart goes numb. He dives into work until his brother settles in Montana because of Travis’ insistence to carry out their parents’ dream of living in the mountains. He quits his search and rescue job to purse his vision of opening a scenic tour business in Montana. So, when friends ask him on his last day of the job to give a woman a ride to the Big Sky Country state, he agrees. Simple, easily done, but the swirl of energy radiating off her has him agreeing and doing things out of his norm. He can no longer push away his feelings to protect his heart. He wants more.


My thoughts:

2 “Cute pet, but couldn’t connect” STARS

ARC via NetGalley

Thank you, City Owl Press!

I’m always really sorry when I read a book and struggle to connect with the characters and the story – especially when I keep pushing and telling myself to read just another page, another chapter, and I’ll end up enjoying it; but, in the end, I don’t. That happened with Destiny, and it made me sorry and sad.

I wanted to like this one. I thought I would, since Destiny is part of the author's Montana Dreams series, and before I requested this title, I read the blurb and reviews for the first book. Let's say I had high hopes for this one.

Like plenty of Romance novels out there, Destiny is told from the POV of Autumm (the leading lady) and Travis (the love interest), which is also something I often appreciate because it allows me inside the characters’ head. While the two POVs weren’t necessarily distinctive, they weren’t badly written, either.

My main problem with the story, though, is that it started in the wrong place – and although that’s common with many novels, the wrong place here made the main character unlikable.

The story literary starts when Autumm's best friend, a sixty(?)-year-old lady, takes her last breath. Before she does that, she asks Autumm to go to Montana and find her destiny. What's that, you may ask. No one knows. When Autumm asks her friend that same question, all she gets is a "you'll see". Okay. I guess. And then she gets a letter from her friend reaffirming that Montana is her destiny. Again, no further explanation. At this point, it feels like I (as the reader) am missing something, which leads to the question: is this a result of Destiny being the second book in a series? I can’t honestly answer because I haven’t read the first.

Moving past that, we're introduced to Autumm's friends who'll help her find a way to get to Montana ASAP. Yep, ASAP. Like, before the funeral. Hmmm… Her dear friend dies and the woman is ready to leave before the funeral! I mean... I don't even know what to say, except that this choice made me instantly dislike the MC, which isn’t such a good idea considering I’m only 10-15% in the book. And I definitely don’t get why her friends act as if her decision to leave is normal. According to them, the dead woman would understand, since she knew how Autumm grew restless when life was too rough. Sorry, but that makes the MC seems immature and selfish.

Anyway, her friends offer to find a pilot to take her to Montana. Said pilot is Travis, and when he finds it extremely weird and even uses the word "selfish" as Autumm says she has to leave town before the funeral because "the whole town will watch her every move", I’m ready to like him. I’m even curious to see Autumm’s character development, because for sure her arc should involve her growing into a selfless woman. Too bad Travis’ moment doesn't last because of insta love or, maybe, insta lust. He's taken by Autumm's unremarkable beauty and, from the moment he lays eyes on her, he's already going on and on about how he wants to have sex with her. These choices are risky because while romance readers are born ready to get to the good part, we also like to fall in love with the characters while they fall in love with each other. We want to feel the attraction growing and taking over, and that didn’t happen for me while I read about Travis feelings for Autumm.

I’ve been seeing a lot of authors leaving quick notes at the end of the blurb using short words like “insta love” or “love triangles” to warn readers about these tropes that cause controversy. I’m not usually picky about stuff like that, but this book could’ve benefit from a note like that.
On the other hand, Autumm’s pet was a much needed comic relief. The naked-man-funny-ferret incident filled me with hope about the story. 

Too bad the main couple’s first time together didn’t keep the “momento”. It could’ve used a little more passion and description, and a little less life-changing feelings for something that seemed to last only a few minutes.

Maybe since the story was sort of short, there was the need to make things bigger than they should’ve been, but it came out as rushed and overdramatic at times. On the plus side, the writing was good and Autumm’s ferret was a pretty funny and smart pet. Funny thing is, even though I couldn’t connect with this story, I still want to read the first book of the Montana Dreams series (Divine) after reading all the great reviews on Goodreads.

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