Thursday, November 2, 2017

Wild Within

Now would be a super great time for you to tell me what a good job I'm doing at reading off my shelf of books I've had for years and didn't read yet.

It's OK, I'll wait.

OK, back to the post, this is a book I got in my Bookworm Box.... a really long time ago. We don't need to publicly say how long it was but I think it was before Penelope and she's 2 1/2 so... yeah. I won't even tell you how many books have been unread of my shelf for longer. Don't judge me.

A year after a family tragedy, Grace Mori embarks on the journey of a lifetime… 

Two thousand, six hundred miles of blistering heat, wilderness, and soul searching—that’s what Grace signed up for when she decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s not a voyage for beginners, but with no husband and her family still recovering from her bother’s death, Grace is more alone than ever. 

This trail meant something to her brother, and she’ll hike it in his memory, but she can’t do it alone. So with her brother’s gear and a small group, Grace takes the most important first steps of her life. 

Grace finds something more than peace and magic on the trail… 

When her first day of hiking ends in heat stroke, Grace is rescued by a handsome, red-haired hiker who calls himself Lone Star. Grace has an immediate connection with him, and their brief encounter leaves her fearing her soul mate has slipped through her fingers. Although he vows to keep in touch, Grace doubts she’ll ever see him again. 

When fears become reality, the only people Grace can rely on may be killers... 

Grace is surprised to find notes left at supply posts along the trail. Lone Star’s eloquent letters keep Grace going, clinging to the hope she’ll find him—and happiness—at the end of her journey. But as the trail becomes more perilous, menace grows within the group. And when Lone Star’s letters mysteriously stop coming, Grace fears the worst. 

As tensions flare and a killer emerges, Grace must battle to survive…and reunite with the man she’s sure is her future. 

I'm really torn on this book for a few different reasons, but I can tell you this absolutely is NOT a five star book. All of the people who have given it five stars must read some really terrible books if this one is just far above the rest. At best this is a 3/5 for me.

The story really revolves around Grace, who we learn early on is still grieving over the loss of her brother Kenji, and is kind of lost in the world. She doesn't know where her place is, her sister is moving away and now her parents are leaving too and Grace realizes she's kind of alone in the world. She finds out that her brother was planning to hike the Pacific Crest Trail as a thru (meaning he would be going from the Mexican border all the way to the Canadian border) and she decides, in all of her inexperience and naivete of the world, she's going to do it in his place, with his stuff, in his honor.

I know, you're saying to yourself, "But Sara, I thought you hated the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed for this very reason?!" and to that I say- you're right! Now that I've read this book I have to tell you I dislike Cheryl in that book even more now. She feels like so much more of a whiner. Which sounds ridiculous to compare a fiction book to a non-fiction book but here we are. I feel like the PCT is actually attainable after reading this book and maybe that's ridiculous because this is a made up story! Of course it wasn't as awful!

Oh lord. I need more sleep.

Anyways. On day ONE (I know, you're rolling your eyes) Grace almost dies, gains her trail name, and somehow meets the love of her life. All of this happens within a few hours of being dropped off. I can't even be angry at that because I know that if this were me, this also would likely be the scenario unfolding. So Grace meets, Lone Star (his real name ends up being Angus, but he goes by Gus when not on the trail) and they fall in love. No hanky panky, but I think any of us would fall in love if saved (literally) by someone. But they don't hike together, he is much faster so he gives her a pep talk, promises to leave her notes at the check in points, and off he walks into the sunset. She pulls on her big girl panties and goes off on her own.

Now is a great time to point out that had the book JUST BEEN ABOUT THIS HIKE, it would have been SO much better. But no. People want to add drama to books so enter Ed out for revenge! Ed is pissed off because he's been nailed for a crime he didn't commit but (dun dun dun) Jerry (the guy who DID commit the crime) is on the trail in a group called the Sideways Seven (because there are seven of them) and he's following so he can exact his revenge!

Does it sound ridiculous? That's because it IS, you guys. It's dumb.

So of COURSE Grace gets mixed up into it and everything goes to hell and Grace needs to be saved by none other than... LONE STAR! You guys, this is miraculous because A) Lone Star isn't even hiking anymore and you find out why in the book and B) not only is he there, but so is Celine! Celine is the dead brother's girlfriend and there's a whole story around that.

You guys. It's just ridiculous. It's now morphed from a cool adventure book with romance to a funny take on crime on the trail. I don't know. It's dumb.

What saved it for me honestly WAS Lone Star and this book should have left out all of the stupid crime and ridiculous story and made it solely about Grace on this life changing trip, hiking towards Lone Star. That would have been a 5 star book. Easily. This... this was kind of dumb with some great spots thrown in. I wanted to hear about her making it to the end, what happens off trail with Lone Star? So many loose ends just kind of dropped.

Turns out this is the first in a series (shocker.... massive eye roll here) so I thought maybe it continued their story. Nope. Book two is a totally different story. So.. that's it. That's all we get of Grace and Lone Star? What kind of bullshit is this? Sigh. It's maybe a 2.5 star book but I'm rounding it to 3 because Goodreads doesn't give half stars.

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