Review by Gabrielle

Everything about Ben was soft and comforting, always had been, but now that he was actually, literally at Alexei’s fingertips, everything about him felt extra precious and special: soft cotton and campfires, the warmth of hot chocolate and spring sun. Ben was moss and redwoods, everything that called Alexei home.

Lace up your hiking boots and get ready for a romantic adventure in Something Wild and Wonderful.

Alexei Lebedev’s journey on the Pacific Crest Trail begins with a single snake. And it is angling for the hot stranger who seemed to have appeared out of thin air. Lex is prepared for rattlesnakes, blisters, and months of solitude. What he isn’t prepared for is Ben Caravalho. But somehow—on a 2,500-mile trail—Alexei keeps running into the outgoing and charismatic hiker with golden-brown eyes, again and again. It might be coincidence. Then again, maybe there’s a reason the trail keeps bringing them together . . .

Ben has made his fair share of bad decisions, and almost all of them involved beautiful men. And yet there’s something about the gorgeous and quietly nerdy Alexei that Ben can’t just walk away from. Surely a bad decision can’t be this cute and smart. And there are worse things than falling in love during the biggest adventure of your life. But when their plans for the future are turned upside down, Ben and Alexei begin to wonder if it’s possible to hold on to something this wild and wonderful.

So you know the praise quotes on the front and inside front covers of books? The ones from authors you know, trying to convince you to pick up this particular book? They often say something along the lines of “best rom-com ever!” or whatnot. I usually try to ignore those quotes. I like to make up my own mind about books and I don’t want the praise quotes to influence what I think. But on this book, there is a quote on the cover from author Rachel Lynn Solomon that says, “Anita Kelly writes with tremendous warmth and care.” And for once, I agree. There isn’t really a better way to describe Anita’s writing than warm and caring. You can feel it on every page.

I loved everything about this book. Both main characters are exceptionally well developed and instantly lovable. Ben is sweet and kind and open. The kind of guy who can talk to anyone and be genuine about it. Alexei is shy and complicated, but also kind. I loved his encyclopaedic knowledge of birds and bird calls. The story is told from alternating viewpoints of both Alexei and Ben allowing the reader to really get to know both characters. Even better than each character on their own, I loved them together. Their relationship felt so realistic. Even though they are really opposites, they compliment each other so well. And their chemistry is off the charts! There are some seriously sexy scenes in this book.

It’s no secret that I love the outdoors so I was delighted that this book took place while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Anita includes lots of wonderful details of the landscapes, the animals and the conditions and situations they get into. I really felt like I was right there with Ben and Alexei, experiencing everything. And it was magnificent. I’ve already added more hiking to my summer to-do list. There is great bonus content in the back of the book including a list of Anita’s favourite hiking trails in the Vancouver Washington area.

If you are looking for a sweet and sexy read with some outdoor adventure, you can’t go wrong with Something Wild and Wonderful.

Thanks, Forever and Hatchette Book Group for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.