Review: Island Escape by Viv Daniels

island escapeReviewed by Janell

I enjoy a good shipwrecked/planewrecked/survival story, so even though the blurb suggested shallow, judgmental characters, I had to read this. Now that I think of it, shallow and judgmental people are the best kind of people to be shipwrecked together!

This book set a different tone right off, when the heroine snorts cocaine on a yacht. It’s set in the 80s, the best decade for cocaine and yachts, in my opinion. Kalina is an heiress, set to inherit a giant company when her grandfather dies (her parents conveniently died in a helicopter crash when she was young). She doesn’t have much ambition or any plans other than to keep the buzz going. Her boyfriend’s family owns the yacht, and they’re with other young, rich people on a meandering summer cruise of the South Pacific. They drink, get high, dance, have sex, sleep, then do it all again.

The yacht has a full staff to take care of the needs of the passengers. Adam is a deckhand and occasional server. He thought it would be an easy summer job to earn money for college, but putting up with the idle rich is painful for him. The women flirt with him because they think he’s on the menu. He was raised on a secluded religious compound, and he escaped because he didn’t think the outside world could be that bad. But on this yacht, the Seven Deadly Sins are on full display, and Adam thinks that all the passengers are shallow, selfish, and cruel.

One night, pirates board the ship. Because of some (embarrassing, hilariously awesome) earlier events, Kalina is sleeping in a lifeboat and Adam is away from the rest of the crew. He manages to escape in a lifeboat, only to discover a hungover heiress has escaped with him. He thinks she’s the prettiest of the snobs, and she knows his name so she’s also the nicest, but she’s not high on his list of People I’d Like to be Stranded With.

So Adam has been raised as a survivalist. That makes Kalina the luckiest girl to ever escape from an abducted yacht. He figures out shelter and sanitation. For her part, Kalina stops complaining and entertains Adam by reenacting The Princess Bride. That is the best thing about Kalina — her love of that movie. Adam can only recite dirty bible verses, which is an oxymoron unless you’re good at interpreting metaphors.

I loved their banter and the portrayal of their situation. The plot slowed down for important moments, but didn’t get bogged down in the details. I understood how they lived and believed it. I also believed that Kalina fell for Adam, because it’s totally easy to fall for a hot guy who saves your life and continues to keep you alive.

Adam’s feelings for Kalina were harder for me to understand. He thought she was sexy, and eventually he thought that she was awesome instead of spoiled. But he had a hands-off approach to her for a long time, and his reasons were vague. He was afraid of rejection? Or he didn’t believe it was anything more than lust and desperation? I mean, when you’re stranded on a desert island with an attractive person, and you’re in a romance novel, shouldn’t you just go for it? Eventually, he did, but he never seemed to be all in. After they were rescued, it was too easy for him to be dissuaded from the relationship, when he should have fought for it.

When I finished the book, I was mostly warm fuzzies and happy sighs. As it marinaded in my brain, though, the romance dimmed just a little. But I am all about the sequel, which will be present-day, featuring their son, because that’s kind of awesome. As a shipwreck book it gets an A-, for a romance it gets a B.

*ARC provided by author

Click to purchase: Amazon

Island Escape
by Viv Daniels
Release Date: January 20, 2015

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