Friday, January 30, 2015

Taming Jake by JoMarie DeGioia
Narrated by Wendy Rich Stetson

The girl afraid of taking chances. 

The guy always looking for his next thrill. 

Staying on the ground or soaring through the air… 

Falling in love is the biggest risk of all. 

Jake Chapman loses himself in extreme sports to fill the emptiness in his life. But when he meets CPA Claire Callahan at Cypress Corners, he wants to spend his visit proving to her that living in the moment is worth the risk. 

Claire cares for her ailing father, a compulsive gambler who repeatedly risked all they had in the quest for a new high. When she falls for Jake, beloved uncle to her close friends’ little boy, she throws her own caution to the wind for once in her life. But his risk-taking soon shows her he’s as addicted to the rush as her father is, and she won’t put her heart in danger. 

Can Jake be the man Claire needs to keep her heart safe? Or will his thirst for adventure keep him from taking the biggest risk of all?

Published & Release Date: Bailey Park Publishing, November 15, 2014

Time and setting: Cypress Corner, Florida 

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Heat Level: 2

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Vikki’s Musings

I am so pleased I had the opportunity to review this audio performance and the book. When I received the request from Ms. Stetson, I was thrilled. I recently reviewed Finding Harmony and enjoyed it immensely and looked forward to reading Taming Jake. I had read the book description and found it interesting. I was not disappointed. This book is definitely an excellent read. I thoroughly enjoyed Wendy Rich Stetson’s narration as well.

Jake Chapman is a man always looking for the next thrill-seeking globe-trotting adventure. He works for his father part of the year, but they do not have the normal father/son relationship. Bill Chapman is a hard-nosed man and is constantly nagging Jake to make a decision in regards to his life. He just wants Jake to commit to something and stick to it to the finish. His father wants him to go to Cypress Corner and set up his concept of “Adventure Excursions”. Jake is exhilarated with this opportunity to show his father he can finish something and on time.

Claire Callahan is a CPA with a miscreant father, who has a gambling addiction. He lost the family home, and now Claire has bought a mobile home for him in a senior development and manages his money, since he cannot be trusted. Her life centers around work and keeping a close eye on her dad.
When Claire and Jake meet at his brother’s house, they are immediately attracted to each other in a big way. Claire believes she does not have time to have a fling and that is all it could be with a man like Jake. However, when Jake wants something, he goes after it with zeal dogged determination, and he definitely wants Claire. Can this unlikely pair make a relationship work when both of them fear that love would be risking it all?

For the most part this is a light-hearted read with Jake urging Claire to “just let go” for once in her life and live in the moment. Ms. Stetson’s interpretation of Jake is perfect. His easy-going, fun-loving personality comes through loud and clear as he convinces Claire to drop her guard and let him in. Her portrayal of Claire is also excellent. Her need to have everything in order comes shining through as well. I particularly liked Ms. Stetson’s voice tone when Claire’s father’s character is speaking. His charm and outgoing personality is shown whenever he is with other people.
Ms. Stetsons’s narration brings the sensual love scenes to life in a way that had me fanning my face several times! The chemistry between Jake and Claire heated up my Kindle to say the least. Her ability to get the emotion and passion that Jake and Claire feel for each other to come out with just the right inflection of her voice is fantastic.

I was so pleased that Lettie, the older gently-bred southern lady introduced in Finding Harmony was also in this book as well. Ms. Stetson is able to show this delightful character with her at times scandalous talk, as the humorous, playful character she is. I love the narrator’s smooth voice and well-modulated tone a great deal and would definitely listen to future books with her as the narrator.

JoMarie DeGioia writes another light-hearted story with engaging characters and an interesting story line. I fell in love with Jake’s character from the first page and remained in love with him throughout the entire book. I really understood his need to prove to his father that he could and would finish his project on time, which he does by the way. His willingness to allow Claire to set the pace of their developing relationship is perfect. I loved it when he finally got Claire’s character to let go and enjoy life.

Claire is an endearing character and liked her a great deal. I could feel her pain over what her father does because of his addiction. If you have ever had anyone in your life who has an addiction, your heart will ache for her disappoint in her father’s behavior. I truly wanted Jake to help Claire become less rigid and he does. When the couple gives into their passion, he gets Claire to let go of all her inhibitions. I am so glad Claire found Jake. He is perfect for her in every way. She needs Jake to help her loosen up. and he needs Claire to help ground him.  

While Ms. DeGioia writes with plenty of emotion, I would have liked to see more development concerning Jake’s relationship with his father. The conflict needs to be stronger to give credence to what drives Jake to be reckless at times.  Now for Claire, she is obviously greatly concerned over the issues with her father, but again it needs to go deeper to really get me totally wrapped up in the story.

Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this great book. The pacing is excellent, making it an easy read and kept me entertained and isn’t that what a book should do? Happy reading!

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