Dark Warrior: To Tame a Wild Hawk
This is a western/romance/supernatural type book...I'm not really sure I can pinpoint a specific genre. Mandy Kane inherits (sort of) her father's ranch upon his death...except that in order to keep the ranch, she must marry. One family, the McCandles, are out to get the ranch whether by threat, theft or marriage. Mandy wants to run the ranch herself, but in the old west it's unheard of to work for a lady rancher. So Mandy fabricates a fiance, a man she's dreamed about since she was a little girl. This dream man turns out to be a real man, Hawk, who is a white man raised by the Indians, and happens into town to help Mandy protect her ranch from encroachers.
I liked the characters in this book. In fact, the characterization was by far the best part. Mandy was strong and likeable, as was Hawk. She has a sweet best friend. Some of the minor characters could have been a little more developed in order to allow some of the story line to pack more punch, but overall, I liked the characters.
The plot and the writing, however, most times left me confused. In the beginning, there is a supernatural, dream-like reality going on, which interrupts the flow of the story. The supernatural, dream-like reality is not maintained throughout the story...whereas in the beginning it's quite heavy. And it's never fully explained what this dream-like connection is, though there are references to Mandy being a witch (however, I don't know if she's a real witch, or if that was just some nasty name-calling). And there's a dark shadowy type man (apparently with no face) who is able to shadow Mandy's powers...who or what he is I couldn't tell you.
I think I would have preferred this story to be in Mandy's POV only, as the focus was all over the place. At times I didn't know who was talking or acting or thinking. Also, especially with a romance, leaving the story in one person's POV (especially the girl's) leaves more mystery and suspense as to the conflict and tension with the partner. Some of that element of surprise is taken away when you know what everyone's thinking...for this type of story, I don't think you want that.
As for the romance, it left me feeling 'meh'. I like my romance to be fraught with tension and miscommunication (though the erotic scenes were nicely handled), and it has to be maintained through to the end of the story. While there was tension and miscommunication, it was always resolved almost immediately. And sometimes, I couldn't understand the basis of their conflict. They'd be mad at one another, and I had no understanding why anyone was mad...it almost seemed contrived in order to build a conflict that needed resolution.
Some of the dialogue, especially in the 2nd half of the story, rose to soap opera proportions...you know, those tacky lines that no one would ever be caught dead uttering out loud and are so saccharine that you have to see the dentist to have the cavities filled from all that sweet talk.
So while the story started out with strong characters, the writing seemed to weaken (even more so than the befuddled beginning) around the middle, and the story quickly lost its "oompf"...it really couldn't be saved by strong characters.
At least for me.
So while the title leads you to believe a wild hawk needed to be tamed, he was tamed far too soon and far too easily.