Review–Taken by Kelli Maine

Taken (Give & Take #1)
by Kelli Maine
Summary: USA Today Best Selling erotic romance.
You steal me away to a deserted island, to the one place I’ve dreamed of being—the one place I can’t go.
You’re used to buying whatever you want, but you can’t buy do I resist the magnetism of your body, the longing ache deep inside me? I want you to take me—on my terms.
Every attempt you make to love me only hurts me. How can we go on like this?
This is the story of how I was TAKEN.

Rachael DeSalvo cares for those she loves with no regard for what she needs from them in return. When her father dies, her mother’s emotional dependency becomes overbearing. Unable to leave her distressed mother, Rachael turns down her dream job with Rocha Enterprises.
Billionaire real estate mogul, Merrick Rocha, knows what motivates people and what buttons to push to get what he wants. When the perfect project manager candidate turns down his job offer, it drives him mad. Three months of watching Rachael from afar has him more determined than ever to have her—for much, much more than an employee.
Merrick takes what he wants, but can he convince Rachael to give him what he needs?

Source: I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.



Taken was a strange read for me. The first thing that threw me off was the point of view. Rachael speaks from her point of view TO Merrick, so he’s referred to as “you” instead of “he” and that was really weird, though I eventually got used to it.

I knew when I started the book, after Merrick essentially drugs and kidnaps Rachael and takes her to a remote island for her own good, that this would be a tricky read for me. How can I view Merrick as anything other than severely screwed up and possibly insane based on him drugging and kidnapping a girl? I mean, I get that the love interests in these kinds of books should be an alpha male and most of them do have some sort of overly possessive and creepy tendencies that we all just overlook because we like alpha males, but kidnapping and drugging someone? Really? Eventually, we get to understand Merrick and like him and realize that he didn’t mean any harm. And Rachael takes awhile to get past the whole kidnapping thing, too, so I give the book some credit for having the issue be a part of the conflict.

This is the third erotic romance novel I’ve read and all of them seem to focus on nothing else but the tension and conflict between the lead characters and everything else is filler. The other characters, the setting, the world.. everything besides the two main characters is severely underdeveloped. I like romance and tension and conflict, but I also feel like there should be more to the story and Taken was just lacking in everything else. It makes the whole story seem far fetched to me. A book with the premise of Taken has the potential to be gritty and dark and disturbing and I feel like all of that was unexplored in the name of romance and it disappointed me. I know my expectations are probably just too high, but nonetheless, I can’t pretend I’m not disappointed.

With all of that being said, the book was thrilling. The romance was crazy and there were tons of interesting moments. I turned the pages rapidly and the romantic conflict was well done. I liked that Merrick had alpha male tendencies, but also wanted the heroine to take the lead and initiative. I liked that both Rachael and Merrick were well developed characters with issues and they tried to balance each other out. Also, parts of the book weren’t steamy romantic but sappy romantic and I thought it was cute.

I would recommend this book to fans of erotic romance novels. I am not quite sure if it’s my cup of tea, but Taken was definitely an interesting novel.

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