Book Review – Taken by Kelli Maine

by Maryse on August 18, 2012 · 34 comments

in My Book Reviews

Taken (Give & Take Book 1)
Well well well… what do we have here? Why yes!! A book that has a little of everything that I love in my reads, markedly… that “broken hearted millionaire tycoon that will do whatever it takes to get what he wants” feel. Remind you of anyone? ;)

In fact, when I received this email from Annie, I KNEW I was SO IN!!!

“Hey Maryse, I’ve followed your blog forever and got hooked on Mr. Gray and Maddox right along with you. I had the opportunity to review a new book along the same lines early called Taken by Kelli Maine. Loved it. Overpowering, hot, rich dude in love with an unlikely person. You should check it out.”

The author sent it to me to read and possibly review, and I’m so glad I did. Yep, Annie… I recognized that feeling too! And while it didn’t make me go all-out *squee-crazy*, I was still pretty much stuck to it like glue.

It started off with a moment of … ruh roh. I read the synopsis so I knew. Yep. But you know me…rolleyes heck, I dunno. What is up with me and “kidnapping” books? I’m drawn to that crazy subject, and even more so to the crazy circumstances that develop. You know. *whispers* Stockholm Syndrome.

So what’s it about? Self-sacrificing Rachael turns down the job of her dreams (renovating an old historical hotel that she’s passionate about) to stay with her lonely mother, and continue interning and struggling to make ends meet.

Merrick, the gorgeous 30-something year old, billionaire tycoon that wanted to hire her, just *feels* it , bone-deep, that she is PERFECT for the job. He can’t believe she turned him down, and he proceeds to secretly… stalk her. And after the course of a few months, feels it bone-deep… that she is perfect for HIM. So he takes her. To that very beautiful hotel (on an isolated island) that he knows she won’t be able to resist. And hopefully, she won’t be able to resist him, either.

“You made a lasting impression on me, Rachael, and I don’t like to be turned down. I needed to find out why you didn’t come work for me.”

How can a respected, beautiful man be entirely crazy? “So you kidnapped me?”

You flinch at my words. “I’m detaining you until you choose to be here.”

OMG!!! Right? ‘Cause come on!! Gorgeous or not, who in their right mind, kidnaps people expecting love???

Your dimples make you look like a nice guy. You’re not a nice guy. “I want to go home.”

You run your finger underneath the rope and stroke my wrist. “You are home, Rachael.”

Oh no. She said dimples. I was done for. *giggle*

But let’s be honest here. In every one of these books, the “bad guy” is well…   hot! So can ya blame me, er… I mean… her? confusedHehe. I know I know… in real life, that’s way off base, and yes, if I’m okay with it just ’cause he’s *hot* well… Hey wait a minute! No no… I’m not gonna over think this. ;) It’s fiction, after all and what makes it fun is that I can get carried away by it, without having to deal with the actual consequences. I love the scary stuff, and these are my virtual roller-coasters so you KNOW I’m totally gonna ride this kind of theme over and over again.  And that’s exactly what makes this “exciting”. It’s sort of… an outrageous version of “possible romance”, and while your mind tells you one thing, if the author does it right, she makes your heart tell you another.

Your expression is so warm and open. You’re begging me to let my guard down – to let you in. I want to, but it’s insane. You have issues, and I haven’t gotten to the core of them yet.

And this one steps in quite nicely, in that way. To tell you the truth, it’s on the much lighter side of the “kidnapping/stockholm syndrome” theme. Much lighter. You don’t struggle as much with that inner turmoil (oh sure, it’s there… but you’ll see what I mean).

Are you insane, or just badly misunderstood? Am I insane for wanting to be with you?

Okay, I’ll tell you what I mean right now, in terms of “feeling”. Ready? This…. “hero” did remind me of Christian Grey. Not to the HUGE extent, depth and intensity that is “Fifty”, but if you’re looking for something with that “feeling”, that similar emotional connection and DIS-connection to love and life, that whole “larger than life” billionaire persona with the broken heart, you’ll find it here.

Your heart pounds against my back , like a frightened child. You take a shaky breath and squeeze me tighter, with both arms now.

*sniffle* ohhh that whole part totally had me. The book just got better and better. I was IN it.

And the only thing that would have made this better was if it was just a little “harder”. A  little bit more cryptic, and mysterious. Maybe some of that moody atmosphere. Something to put me a bit more on edge. A little more turmoil and fear… more of that ruthless tycoon side that we are told about. And I think, a longer book could have delivered that (possibly bumping this up to *squee-worthy* for me).

But don’t get me wrong. I felt this book.

Overall, it was an interesting, exciting, heart-catching take, and certainly one I’ll add to my “What to Read After Fifty Shades” list. Because in the grand scheme of things, there were moments that had me catching my breath, had my stomach doing that *swoon-dippy* thing and a bit of slow-motion reading going on (for those of you who don’t know… that’s what I do when an intense scene really captures me. I suddenly start reading it very slowly, my eyes widen, my breathing feels like it stops. And if the scene is really good, I re-read it again, right away).

Some scenes had me reacting like that a few times and isn’t that what I’m looking for in a “potential-romance” read?.

P.S. This one is steamy. And I mean… well, WOW (for me, anyway). I’ve read steamy scenes that end up being more detail then steam, but there was just something about this one. The intense attraction and passionate moments in this book were palpable.

4 stars!

P.S.!! There’s a follow up novella! No Takebacks (Give & Take)

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Brae B August 18, 2012 at 11:56 AM

Well Maryse…you’ve done it again. I’ll probably be done with both books by Monday morning….I’m addicted! Thanks for your yummy&exciting reviews!

Sabrina August 18, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Sounds great and exactly what I’m in the mood for. But then I’m always in the mood for hot tycoons. :)

Missy R. August 18, 2012 at 12:15 PM

I loved this one! I agree that it was definitely lighter than I thought I would be, though.

Kimberly B August 18, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Wow, just ordered it, I’ll read it tonight. Cant wait

Missy R. August 18, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Oops! thought *it* would be ;)

Maryse August 18, 2012 at 1:27 PM

Let me know what you guys think! I want more like that…

Sandy August 18, 2012 at 1:51 PM

You sucked me in again! I got both. :-)

Minha August 18, 2012 at 2:48 PM

I probably will need a second job to pay for all my exciting ebooks! :)

Claudia August 18, 2012 at 5:01 PM

I love the cover!! Thank you Maryse!!

V. August 18, 2012 at 6:33 PM

Just when I’m running out of books to read – you always come up with the goods.

Claudia August 18, 2012 at 6:53 PM

I am reading and loving it……..oh my….

Amy P August 18, 2012 at 8:44 PM

You always recommend the best books! As soon as I need a new read – I search your site and always end up happy! Thanks for another great suggestion – only 7% in and hooked!

Maryse August 18, 2012 at 9:44 PM

I knew you’d like this!

Annie August 19, 2012 at 1:24 AM

Yayayayayayaya!! So glad you liked it! :) I’ll keep me eye out for more!

Kimberly B August 19, 2012 at 7:32 AM

Just finished both books, a great read. I hate series though. Just want to know the whole story with no waiting!! I am reading to many series, it’s killing me

Mariel August 19, 2012 at 10:10 AM

OMG it was awesome! That novella has left me wantingggg can’t wait till the next one comes out!!!!

Erin August 19, 2012 at 10:19 AM

Just bought both… As soon as I finish Poughkeepsie today :)

Brae B August 19, 2012 at 7:00 PM

So far sooo good ;) …I can barely do anything but use the restroom and run back to this book! Welp I see an all nighter in my future! Thx for the recommendation Maryse!

Angela August 20, 2012 at 11:01 AM

I finished both of them this weekend! They were very good. Just a heads up the second book is only 6 chapters and ends on a cliffhanger and the 3rd book doesn’t come out until 2013….I really hate when that happens. I hope I remember to find this book by then so I can find out what happens!

Kirsten August 20, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Loved this book, and the second one, which is short. Hate having to wait until 2013 for the third installment, especially with the cliff hanger. *Sigh*

lisa August 21, 2012 at 4:21 PM

taken was so goooooood ,:) I have to read ” no takebacks ” .99 on amazon short but looks good I look forward to 2013 for book 2 :)

Brae B August 22, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Both books were simply delicious! The ending made me scream for more…I actually scared my foggy Java! Loved loved loved it…can’t wait for book three!

Brae B August 22, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Oops my doggy …not foggy lol!

Lise August 22, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Big Hugs ((())) for this rec. I just finished it and getting ready to read the novella. I think this is going to be a fantastic series. Thanks again for turning us on…. not literally (well maybe a little) *platonic squee*

Takisha August 25, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Bought taken yesterday at around 7p was done at 230am….loved it…and the No take backs (taken novella) has me on the edge….i can not wait for Given!!!!!!!

Takisha August 25, 2012 at 11:20 AM

What i read on Kelli Maine’s blog for whats next:

I have something big and fun planned for my next release, which will be Taken By Storm, MJ’s story. If you’ve read No Take Backs, then you’ve been given a little introduction to MJ. Well, this boy has some serious issues to work through and not  just daddy issues. There’s a girl of course, and she drives him mad.

The cover for Taken By Storm is AMAZING, and I can’t wait to show you.

Taken By Storm will be available before the end of the year*. In the meantime, while I’m writing, I’ll be posting some teasers on this blog and some clues as to what’s happening on my Taken Pinterest Board. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll see when I update Pinterest with a hint.

What about Given?

Given will be released summer of 2013*. Will Rachael and Merrick be together? Well, Merrick has done some stupid things, and Rachael’s been pretty forgiving. Right now she’s still pretty upset. And where is Merrick anyway? That man…so frustrating.

*Disclaimer: These dates are goals and will happen if there are no emergencies, natural disasters, coffee shortage–things like that.

Dawn August 27, 2012 at 2:39 AM

Just finished both books. Only bought them yesterday but couldn’t put them down. Can’t wait for Taken By Storm and Given.

Nancy Parken September 7, 2012 at 7:11 PM

Well you got me again & I just downloaded this, & my TBR list just took another hit!

Sara November 29, 2012 at 10:21 PM

This sounds perfect, another one moving up on my tbr list

Patty February 2, 2013 at 1:39 PM

When is book 2 coming out….major cliffhanger….

Paula February 2, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Has Given been released yet. I didn’t see any reference to Given in the book at the end or in the iTunes library. I just bought Taken and No Take Backs and finished them in just a day. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what happened to Rachael and Merrick. I’m so edgy right now I can’t stand it. I also got taken by storm and take me back but didn’t realize until I read this website that there is actually going to be another which makes me so excited that there will be closure. Are there any updates?

Maryse February 2, 2014 at 8:51 PM


Here is the reading order with the direct links to Amazon for each installment:

Paula February 3, 2014 at 7:48 AM

Thank you Maryse, you made my day. I don’t have a kindle so is there any word about it coming out for the iPad yet? So close and yet so far!

Paula March 23, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Just finished Given and Take this Man, I totally loved the series. I will miss Merrick, Rachael, and all the other characters. I found Taken difficult to read at first but once I got into it, it was just so easy. Perfect ending to the series though. It’s amazing how wrapped up in these characters you can get. Before this past summer I hadn’t picked up a book in a couple of years but then I read the 50 Shades series and can’t stop myself. It’s lead to me losing 30 lbs since July and I couldn’t be happier. I get so wrapped up I forget to eat. I call it my 50 Shades diet, funny I know but it’s been life changing for me. Thanks for the recommendations Maryse!

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