A Heart Untamed

 
It Takes Two by Adrienne Burns
(Jove, $5.99, PG) ISBN 0-515-12751-5
**
Mini, a witch, and Rueben, a warlock, are living life behind bars: cage bars. They have been turned into love birds due to their bickering ways and the only way to return to human form and resume their normal lives is take the witches councilís assignment. Their mission is to help reunite two mortals who are soul mates. Their task begins when they arrive at their new home: a pet store.

Justine Diamond took a cruise a year ago to forget about a disastrous relationship. On the ship she met ex-professional football player, Zachary Diamond and the two were inseparable. But a family emergency called Zack away from the ship, and Justine never got the message he left with a steward to deliver. Heartbroken and angry, Justine returned to her Canyon Bay, Nebraska pet shop a bitter woman.

Zack has never forgotten Justine, and when the opportunity presents itself, he moves to Cannon Bay to take over as the temporary high school football coach. He is determined to reunite with her, and to learn why she never called him.

Of course, Justine isnít happy to see him. To make matters worse, Zack has kicked her nephew, Jordan, off the football team and the boy is full of rage. How can Justine and Zack overcome past misunderstanding and present circumstances to find happiness? Will Mini and Rueben be able to work some magic on the pair?

Itís hard to care about characters that are so incredibly unlikable. The misunderstandings between Zack and Justine are so childish and petty that a brief 10 minute conversation would resolve all the issues. Instead they refuse to talk to each other in a rational manner. They fight, bicker and do not discuss their problems. The conflict is nothing insurmountable, itís their childish behavior that is keeping them apart.

Rueben and Mini werenít much better. They have a few amusing moments, but hardly ever had a civil conversation without yelling at each other. In fact, all the characters are in a bad mood throughout the whole novel. Everyone is ticked off about something. It made me think they all needed to take a vacation. There were no light-hearted moments or tender displays of affection. I was beginning to think that Cannon Bay was the ulcer capital of Nebraska.

What saved this book from certain one heart doom was the original plot: witches changed to lovebirds who must unite two mortals to get back to their normal lives. However, irrational misunderstandings, pride, no trust whatsoever, and two leads who refused to talk to each other civilly dampened my mood to the point that I just wanted to get this book done and over with. I give Zack and Justine six months, unless Cannon Bay has a good marriage counselor.

--Wendy Crutcher


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