Doing it at: 64%
Catnip: Stranded; Second Chance Love; Dangerous Criminal Villain; Feelings of Inadequacy; Girl with a Hard Knock Life; Dual Narrative; WTF
Shame scale: Medium – Poorly written, not much boning, and a garage sale cover
Fantasy casting: N/A (I didn’t really care enough)
“Elle Vollman hadn’t expected to live when the plane went down. She never thought she’d see her daughter again or give testimony against one of the world’s worst human traffickers. But she learned never to say never because she never thought she’d see her ex-fiancé, Dr. Brody Donovan, again either. Now here he was, amongst the survivors, applying medical care to those in need. Lost in the Amazon and being hunted by more than just wildlife, it will take their combined strength to find help and rescue the others. The fierce jungle has doomed many, and trusting one another is the only way either of them will find their way back…maybe even to each other….“
This book popped up in my library “recommended for you” feed (my library knows me so well!), and besides the ambitious plot, I think what really attracted me to it was that it reminded me of this book I loved in elementary school:
I’ve always had a thing for stories about people who are trapped/stranded/castaway. Maybe it was my first Catnip? Anyways, it was a library read (free), and I figured if they could possibly pull off a second chance romance with a plane crash in the Amazon, while being chased by evil South American human traffickers in only 219 pages, it was worth a shot.
Spoiler alert: this book was dumb.
Thirteen years ago, Elle and Brody were engaged. A few weeks before the wedding, Elle left a Dear John letter in the mailbox and took off. The spend the next 13 years trying to get over each other. They somehow both end up on the same tiny charter plane in the remote Brazilian Amazon, BUT THEY DON’T NOTICE EACH OTHER TILL AFTER THE PLANE HAS CRASHED. Seriously, there are only seven people on the plane, including the pilots, but they don’t notice each other. Ok. Then, the plane crashes in the jungle and nobody dies. Ok. So then then Elle and Brody decide to take off walking through the jungle with no map, compass, or clear view of the sun, based on Elle’s “If a plane left Brazil traveling North West at 200 miles per hour for 43 minutes” math. She convinces Brody that if they walk due East for two days, they’ll reach this random village where her only friend in Brazil who can be trusted to protect them from the bad guys who have limitless influence just happens to live. This village is composed of 25 thatched huts. And they walk straight to it. No. This is literally impossible. Then a bunch of stuff happens with the bad guys, and then there’s a double knee replacement (?????) and all of the sudden they wrap it up in about a chapter with a miraculous helicopter rescue by his two best friends who were supposedly in Colorado, but were able to organize an Amazon rescue in less than 24 hours (read all about them in the rest of the shitty Harlequin Intrigue series!). I could have done with a little more of the surviving in the jungle plot, less with the human traffickers hunting them plot. It was too much for a short book. And also, preposterous.
As bad as this was, I would have bumped it up to a C+ if the sex was good and there was a little humor. But despite them doing it just under the wire at 64% (just shy of the magic 65% bench mark we’ve set), they only do it two or three times, and it’s pretty bland. I always thought Harlequin books were the ones you read because they were dirty? Didn’t that used to be a thing?