Review: Taken by Storm by Kelli Maine

book coverARC: 274 pages 
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: May 7, 2013
ISBN: 9781455598991
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Give and Take #2
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Maddie Simcoe knows the devastation that comes from keeping secrets. Now, she's desperate to move on from the heartbreak that almost destroyed her -- trading wild passion that once made her knees weak for a life of comfortable stability. But before Maddie can start over, she must return home to put the past behind her once and for all...
When Maddie blows back into MJ Rocha's life, nothing will stop him from proving to her that walking away from him was the biggest mistake of her life -- not even the engagement ring she wears. Her every look, every touch tells MJ that the fire that once raged between them still burns hot, and MJ won't give up until Maddie gives in to the inferno.
Trapped by a hurricane roaring through Turtle Tear Island, MJ and Maddie find shelter in each others' arms. While the lightning flashes, MJ and Maddie are helpless to fight bonds of desire that tie them together. But just as they're about to surrender to the torturous longing that consumes them both, the storm unleashes violent secrets from MJ's past...secrets that could wash away all MJ and Maddie's hopes of forever...

Taken by Storm tells the story of MJ, who was raised by his rich but evil grandfather Enzo on the Rocha estate, and Maddie, the house manager's daughter. MJ and Maddie grew up together and were best friends until they became something more. But Enzo was determined to keep them apart (especially after Maddie learned a deep dark secret about MJ) and Maddie was forced to leave without saying goodbye to him. However, a year later, Maddie came back hoping to sort out her old feelings about MJ so that she can say "yes" to her boyfriend's marriage proposal with confidence. But MJ was determined not to loose Maddie again and will stop at nothing to keep her by his side forever... Dun dun duuun!

Okay, it's not so dramatic as that. 

The synopsis was what drew me to picking up and reading Taken by Storm but it didn't really give an accurate description of the book. I was expecting a second-chance romance/survival type of story with the main characters trapped alone on an island because of a hurricane, which forces to work together to survive as well as work on their relationship problems. When I found out that MJ is 4 years younger than Maddie I got even more excited because I've been digging the younger man/older woman romance trope lately. I thought I was in for an On the Island (Garvis-Graves) kind of read.

But, no.

Taken by Storm was mostly a back-and-forth between MJ who wanted to make Maddie his again but also wanted to know why she left in the first place, and Maddie who was determined to keep the secret because Enzo threatened to fire her dad if she told MJ (but she didn't want to tell MJ the secret because will hurt him). The whole tell-me-why-you-left-I-won't-tell-I'm-protecting-you-you're-mine-tell-me-why-you-left-I-won't-tell-I'm-protecting-you-I-can't-live-without-Maddie-why-won't-she-tell-me-why-she-left-me-I-won't-tell-I'm-protecting-you* is peppered by steamy flashbacks and more of MJ's family drama. 

I really wanted to enjoy Taken by Storm because it had a lot of components I like in my romantic reads but I just couldn't get into the story or the characters or the writing. The first third of the story was okay and the flashback scenes when Maddie and MJ were young kids were cute but it was just had too much of the same* and the dialogue was disjointed and I couldn't get behind the main characters. MJ and Maddie both got on my nerves and they were too juvenile--MJ was kind of a jerk and Maddie was kind of an indecisive limp noodle.

I made myself finish Taken by Storm, driven by the fact that I did feature this book earlier this month. I just started this book when I made that post and I was pretty confident I will like it but, unfortunately, Taken by Storm was not for me.**

**Before my review deters you from picking up Taken by Storm, I urge you to read other reviews on Goodreads to get a second opinion. Taken by Storm currently has an average of 4.06/5 stars (from 405 ratings).

Taken by Storm is book 2 in the Give and Take series but it can be read as a standalone book.

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