|Checked Out: December Book Review II- Forever Wild |

I began and ended 2020 with K.A. Tucker’s “Wild” series, and I must say that it is one of the highlights of my year. It was a joy to kick off my winter break with a new Kindle download, and I was shocked and instantly disappointed when I saw that “Forever Wild” was only 145 pages long. I imagined myself, warm by the fire, immersed in another lengthy read until embers burned quietly beside me, well into the night. I knew that I could reach the back cover in under two hours, and that saddened me. But like everything else, all good stories must come to an end.

This novella unfolds with a holiday season in full swing: Jonah and Calla are getting ready to celebrate Christmas with both sides of the family in attendance. Calla cannot wait for her mother and Simon to spend time in their cozy home while Jonah is dreading being under one roof with his stepfather, who he certainly does not see eye to eye with. This is the first time that family members are meeting and there is much to talk about, much to celebrate and plan for, with a wedding on the horizon. But there are so many questions- Where will the wedding be, and when? Who will be in attendance? And how will Calla and Jonah ensure that it is a day that they will never forget, when Astrid, Murial, Susan and others have wishlists of their own?

“Forever Wild” focuses on family dynamics, holiday traditions in Trapper’s Crossing, and surprise happy endings. We get to hear a few more of Jonah’s jokes, get to uncover more of Roy’s softer side, we feel the heat of Jonah and Calla’s chemistry once more, and revel in the family unit that emerged in the most unlikely of places.

As always, the book was well-written and, although short, a joy to read. And it seems as though Jonah and Calla aren’t waving goodbye just yet!

At the end of the book, K.A. Tucker reveals that a new novel is coming soon with Marie, Jonah’s best friend, as the main character. She writes,

“Catch up with Calla, Johnah, and the rest of
Trapper’s Crossing, Alaska in
Dr. Marie Lehr’s story.
Tile and release date to come.”

I will admit that I was a little disappointed in this revelation. I spent all of “Wild At Heart” despising Marie for meddling in a fragile but worthwhile romance; Calla and Jonah were risking and sacrificing so much to be together that I felt like Marie was an unnecessary additional layer. Although it added another plotline to the story, I literally felt strained and drained as Jonah and Calla were working to understand and establish the boundaries of their relationship, amid everything else.

I personally would love to read a book about Delyla and her rekindled relationship with Roy. We know very little about her, but she enters this community by way of a stubborn but sensitive old man. I loved Roy’s character arch almost as much as I adored Wrens- the two of them were my favorite supporting characters due to their surprising depth. What you saw was not what you got, with them, as opposed to people like Muriel… and I found them endearing in their own ways. We don’t know much about Delyla at all, only the small snippets of her life that Roy reveals, and you can go a lot of ways with that. I feel like, for me at least, I already have made judgements and have pre-conceived feelings toward Marie. Ones that may be hard to shake, no matter how her story unfolds.

The future of Trapper’s Crossing is unknown, but one thing is for sure- I will continue to read K.A. Tucker’s books. The “Wild” series is displayed proudly on my bookcase, “Be The Girl” got another 4-star stamp of approval from me… I know that Tucker will be a mainstay author for me, for as long as she keeps writing.

FINAL SCORE: 3.8 Although this book was extremely short and really acted as a longer epilogue to “Wild At Heart,” it was great to spend more time with Jonah and Calla again. I love the bond that has been created and felt good to get some closure to their whirlwind romance.

I still think that the first novel was best, as most budding love stories are. The introductions, the adventures, the tensions, the heat, the depth and dimension of support character storylines… I still rate “The Simple Wild” as 5 stars, “Wild At Heart” as 4 stars, and this one as a well-written but just too quick 3.5.

BEST FOR: Calla and Jonah fans- I know that there are many of them.(I’m still waiting for someone to pick up this series and create a TV rendition; I would be lying if I said that I don’t ponder possible “Jonah’s” quite often.) I don’t recommend this book as a standalone read, it may confuse readers and dilute just how much character development the author poured into her first and second novels; But it is a necessary read for anyone who has breezed through over 800 pages of the “Wild” series to date.  

NOT GOOD FOR: Those who aren’t willing to put time into “The Simple Wild” and “Wild At Heart.” I promise: You won’t be disappointed! If you are still on the fence, check out my review of “The Simple Wild” and “Wild At Heart” and hopefully I inspire you to kick off 2021 with K.A. Tucker!

IF THIS BOOK/ AUTHOR WAS A HIGH SCHOOL STEREOTYPE/ SUPERLATIVE: I still stand by some of my earlier nominations: “Most Likely To Have A Million Followers On Instagram,” “All-American Couple,” and my newest, “Most Likely To Grow Old Together.”

** Want to see what I’m reading next? Find me on GoodReads and join the 2020 challenge with me! https://www.goodreads.com/addingpunctuation **

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