This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released on May 28, 2019
What could be more fun than a honey badger matchmaker and a small zoo out in the country full of exotic and sometimes eccentric animals? How about adding a second more tenacious honey badger, a cuddly polar bear cub, a curmudgeonly Scottish writer, and an overly friendly woman with a Southern drawl. The Sagebrush Flats Zoo might just never survive this opposites attract romance pair or Honey’s matchmaking antics.
Sweet Wild of Mine is book two in this delightful series of standalone romances set against the backdrop of a small town zoo. I enjoyed getting the check in with Katie and Bowie with their family so I would definitely recommend starting with book one when these folks and the zoo with its animals are all introduced along with the current heroine, June.
Ever want to tell a pushy, in your face cheerful chatterer to bug off? Big, rough Scotsman, Magnus Gray has no problem delivering the brush off to local woman, June Winters, when she invades his space, ignores the signals and his pointed silence. Magnus just wants to be left alone so he can do this assignment volunteering at the zoo around the animals, writing of his experiences, and getting back in touch with the type of stories that made him appeal to readers. His publisher even wants him to start vlogging his experiences with the animals particularly the new polar bear cub to let his readers get to know him better and increase his readership. The trouble is, his stutter is at its worst for things like this. Now, he has to strike a deal with the friendly busybody who pops up nearby all the time. If he’s honest, he’s attracted to June and starts to resent her presence less and less as time goes on.
Honey understands the big human just fine. He’s got a lot of Honey Badger in him. But, she can’t let Fluffy have all the bragging rights so she’ll have to get the Big One and the Pretty One together even if they aren’t making their match easy.
It takes a rude brush off and a few encounters where she sent the man fleeing her very presence for Sagebrush Flat sweetheart June to figure out that she doesn’t actually have universal appeal to men and, wouldn’t you know it, this is the one who makes her want to make him interested. June’s not a bad person- she’s generous and kind, bubbly and sweet, but she’s used to having it her own way until now. The doctors have no answers for what is ailing her nan beyond old age, but something isn’t quite right as far as June’s concerned. The only time her nan perks up is when she reads the books by Magnus about his growing up in the Orkneys and his work with animals or when nan is reminiscing about meeting her husband during the war years. June will do what she has to do to get Magnus to talk with her nan even if it means helping him vlog his zoo experiences and work through his severe stutter problems. And, if she can’t get enough of the big, surly Scot? Bonus.
Sweet Wild of Mine takes a different tone than the first book and I appreciated seeing this fresh approach since this book tells the story of very different people and different situations. But, this second book brought back all the joy of spending time at the zoo and with those adorable animals including a new cutie cub. It had a gentle even pace through the whole book and took a slow approach to the romance and peeling back layers of Magnus and June’s characters which was good because they were both abrupt and startling in their first meet-ups.
Now, I feel the need to pull over and park on something.
June means well, but she keeps coming on strong with each encounter, not taking no for an answer when he told her to leave him be, and even telling him to change his look and then pestering until he does it. Even Katie applies some pressure for him to just let June have her way because she knows best and please be kind because June has tender feelings. What about Magnus’ feelings and choices here?
On one level, I know these antics were meant to be funny and I did find them so, but I also felt resentful on the part of all the quiet people in the world who aren’t made wrong and don’t need outgoing people changing them. It’s ironic to me that she calls him rude after that first encounter when she wouldn’t leave him alone until he exploded or was forced to vacate the vicinity because she wouldn’t stop prodding him.
Now, in this story, Magnus isn’t shy, but he hides a stutter and a childhood of emotional neglect and some abuse. I get that he might be a more outgoing type if circumstances had been different, but June did not know all this when she started her campaign to force him out of his shell and force him to accept her society. Fortunately, my issues with this grew less and less as the series progressed and Magnus wasn’t backpedaling to get away from her and she settled down once he reciprocated her interest.
One more bit of nitpicking. I love the occasional use of regional slang as much as the next gal. I find it amusing and fun, but I felt like the author emptied the slang dictionaries for Scotland and the American South and had this pair spout it constantly. People, no matter where they are from, do not talk that way so it got distracting rather quickly.
But, before you think I hated this book, let me disabuse you of that thought. It had a few bits that got on my nerves, but overall, I had a great deal of fun with the overall story, the circle of characters including the animal characters, and the romance as this pair got to know one another and appreciated each other. Magnus was good with people even though he says he’s not and June was the first person to really try to help Magnus with his speech impediment. I enjoyed seeing them working together with the animals, the vlog, and her nan, and growing more and more attracted as friendship moved into love. I’m really hoping Katie’s certain bestie guy friend stars in his own book soon.
All in all, it was heartwarming and adorable for this opposites attract romance. Animal lovers and slow-burn contemporary romance fans this is the contemporary series for you.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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