Tuesday, July 30, 2019

This Is Wild by Natasha Madison-Release Blast


My parents told me I skated before I walked. When I was eighteen I was drafted into the N.H.L third overall, playing in Los Angeles—the city of dreams. What more could I ask for? I played hard, but eventually, I partied even harder. Five years later I was traded a week after I entered rehab. There was no time for anything except my health and making sure I’d come out on top. I had to be better. There wasn’t another option.

One of the rules of recovery was ‘don’t fall in love’ and I made it a top priority. She was off limits in every single way.

Until it was too late


When you grow up surrounded by hockey players you know one thing for sure, I was never going to settle down with one. Heck, I didn’t even know what icing was. I was too busy climbing the corporate ladder, becoming one of the most successful realtors in New York City. I wasn’t interested in dating or anything that got in my way.

First, he was my client and then he became my friend.

One night, one decision, one act can derail everything.

When push comes to shove, I’m only certain that, This is Wild.


Addiction is not an easy topic to tackle in any book, no matter the genre. Add in the expectations of it being in a romance, and the pressure to not only tell an authentic story but also keep you on the side of the characters is that much harder. They can be flawed, but not too flawed...it's a romance, after all.

I thought the balance of this was handled very well. It kept the romance, it allowed you to understand why Zoe falls in love with Viktor; why he feels she is too good for him/he isn't good enough for her; and why he got to where he is now, to where he was, and why he will never go back there again. (To this point, I loved the tiny flash forward at the end. It's a book about addiction...but it's also a romance, so you know there will be a "Happily Ever After" but, it was still kind of nice to see it play out, just a little bit.

There was a lot about this book that I enjoyed. The romance, the slow burn friendship while both believe (accurately, for a while I think) that they can't have more, that he has to focus on himself, their connection, Zoe's giving heart and how much she loves Viktor, knowing she shouldn't and that he warned her not to.

But, the thing that really stood out to me was how well he knows himself. Yes, it's a struggle at first as he realizes he had lost himself. But, through it all, there is a mindfulness and intentional approach to his recovery that he maintains. He believes in what he is doing, he is open and upfront about it, and he makes sure that he makes the decisions that will guide him to it. He is invested, he is all in with his recovery, and it makes it easy for the reader (and Zoe) to be drawn to him and to want him to succeed...romance and wanting Zoe and Viktor to get together aside.

I also really liked Zoe and how she fell in love with him, flaws and all. She was able to see past the addict, and his past, and see the person that he was even during the addiction that was lost, covered up, by the drugs but still hiding in the corner. I loved that she sees him, from the beginning, and that each thing he tells her, each of his struggles, each of the things she sees that are less than positive are things that he has overcome, that she is proud of him for getting past.

Yes, this is a romance, and it is a dual POV, but in a lot of ways, this is Viktor's story. Zoe is an important part of it, and she is one of the things that helps anchor him...but, at the same time, the person who is really responsible for moving him forward is Viktor himself.

I enjoyed and recommend this title.

I have been eagerly anticipating This Is Wild for months now and wow, was it worth it. This story offers a different, open, honest perspective on an issue that most people gloss over or brush under the rug. Natasha Madison didn't shy away from letting these characters tell their story and it was just beautiful.

To be fair, I was given a bit of a trigger warning in regards to this book since it deals with addiction. If you love an addict, have been affected by an addict-hell if you know one, this book is going to hurt to read at times. I cried more than once. Took a few deep breaths and thought, YES! That is exactly what it feels like to be in a relationship with an addict. But the way this story explains it, and seriously does not shy away from the difficulties of it, is just wonderfully done.

I loved Zoe. She wasn't what I was expecting at all, and I mean that in the best way possible. She was smart, sassy and funny (I've come to expect that from this Author's heroines!) but she had this underlying soft side that I just loved. I like how committed she is, and when she commits to something, she's all in. She's the kind of woman I want as a friend.

Viktor is one of my favorite book boyfriends. This man so believes he's undeserving of love, or can't love right now, that I wanted to hug him immediately. I appreciated his passion, his drive and his determination. I applauded his honesty and his efforts. I was cheering for him throughout the book.

Watching these two build their relationship from friends to lovers was so satisfying. I loved how they truly both believed that they could limit themselves to just being friends. These two just complemented each other so well and I love the support they gave each other. Their journey wasn't necessarily easy but it was all worth it. Their sexy times? Well, have a fan ready for when you read this one!

I didn't want to put this book down. As I said, I definitely cried over some parts. I laughed in others, and I fell in love with these characters. Now, this can be enjoyed as a standalone, but I loved getting to see glimpses of the Stone/Grant/Horton family here (if you don't know who I'm talking about, you will after reading this...because you'll go back for the other books I guarantee it).

The writing was very well done. Again, this deals with a topic a lot of authors don't necessarily want to deal with, let alone feature in a book. This Author handled it with grace and honesty and I truly appreciated it. I feel like the pacing was spot on as well.

I loved this book and know it's one I'll come back and read again. This was slow burn, friends to lovers perfection. I would absolutely recommend this book.

When her nose isn't buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she's in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It's a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn't listen to her.

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