GILBERT, AZ, United States | Member Since 2014
This story had a lot of elements that were good. You have a gorgeous, hot & kind hero in professional hockey player Jason “Ryke” Ryke, and a sweet heroine, Kate Camden who met in group grief counseling environment. Both Ryke and Kate had experienced loss in their lives and this is the cement which seemed to bind them together. They had good chemistry and I loved how Ryke pursued and had so much patience with Kate. Ryke was definitely the best part of this book. For me, the issue was with Kate, as she was too hot & cold. I felt like she kept Ryke on a leash and pulled it when she wanted. Yes, I understand she was grieving, but a lot of her evasiveness was too much. She didn't want him to see other girls, but avoided him etc. Also, when Ryke intimately shared about aspects of his previous wife that caused problems in their marriage, well, I couldn't help but feel that Kate exhibited some of the behaviors that were similar in his deceased wife. She was definitely super moody and Ryke really had to work for her affection. Lastly, I prefer more heat in my novels. When their only love-making scene was 26 minutes before the end of the audiobook, well....um...that's just not good enough for me. They did share a chemistry and bond, but Ryke and Kate never really seemed to completely enjoy that love in this book. I kept checking to see if this was an abridged version, but no, it's the whole book. This book felt half done because I needed to have more moments of bliss between the couple aside from the frustration of their budding relationship.
I'm not planning to read/listen to the next book..the heroine was just too frustrating. Sorry Ryke!
On a positive note, the narrators, Chris R. and Kirsten L. were excellent. They performed the alternating POV's very well.
Here's the deal, Kristen Ashley has kind of ruined me for other authors because of the incredibly detailed and beautiful love stories she creates! And, let me say, THE WILL, the first of the Magdalene series was a masterpiece!
You have this incredible build up and chemistry between Jake and Josie. Both of their backgrounds were so interesting, and you wouldn't think that a high class, fashion-savvy babe like Josie could fall in step with Jake, a man who lives in a small town, owns a boxing gym (and another business that might be perceived as indecent), has a string of troublesome ex's and 3 kids, BUT THEY WERE PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER. K.A. builds an incredibly beautiful love story showing just how perfect they were for each other. In fact, this will be one of my K.A. favorites.
I loved how Jake and Josie fell in love. Regarding Josie, though, I had to get used to her extremely formal way of expressing herself. Most of the time she sounded like a person with high functioning autism, or a pedantic, university professor. However, if her speech wasn't a problem for all of the other characters who received and loved her, it wasn't a problem for me....LOL
The way Josie bonded with Jake's kids was so tender and melted my heart like butter. She found a way into the hearts of Amber, Conner, and Ethan and it was such a treat! Now regarding, JAKE, OMG that man is a fine man who understood women well. That is to say, he seemed to understand Josie well and gave her so much in terms of love, patience, attention etc. It's a tricky thing to date a woman while handling his businesses, caring for his children etc., but he was smooth, and overall a very strong masculine figure.
One of the most touching aspects of this love story is how Josie's deceased grandmother seemed to be present everywhere in their story. It was absolutely incredible how Gran found a way to set up Jake and Josie. What a wonderful lady!
To me this story was perfection and I can't wait to continue with the series!
Narrator: Hollis McCarthy performed well, but I would like for her to work on her masculine voice a bit more. Overall, this was an extremely enjoyable K.A. novel.
OMG, even though I was loving each of the Colorado Mountain books, when it came to Jagged, plainly, I hated it. I hated the love "set up" so much that I was really upset with K.A. because I didn't feel she delivered a romance that readers could believe was undoubtably a "forever romance" between Ham and Zara (due to February...in my heart I believe Zara was Ham's second choice since February was taken). Sooooo, I ended up taking a sabbatical from reading anything K.A. When I finally decided to listen/read Kaleidoscope, it was like coming back home to VINTAGE KRISTEN ASHLEY.
In Kaleidoscope, you have a second chance at love, but one that you KNOW, as a reader, was Jacob Decker's first heart choice. There was no doubt that Emmanuelle Holmes was the only love of his life, as his previous relationship paled in comparison. The love development progressed very nicely and solidly. I loved the chemistry, intellectual banter and overall moments between Jacob and Emme.
The focus of this book was more on the relationship, as opposed to the unraveling of a complicated plot. This was really nice. Yes, there were A LOT of sex scenes, but I enjoyed that aspect. From many of K.A.'s work, I always come away feeling as though she solved the gender war between the masculine and feminine in the love relationships in her characters. I always feel as though K.A. celebrates equally strong male and female leads. Yet, in this book, there was an added dimension to that, as both Jacob and Emme are on opposite side of the political spectrum---which was like whoah!!! I thought exploring the political views of her leads was ballsy, because of the triggers it can evoke from readers. However, I thought she did a very good job with that. I absolutely DID NOT agree with Emme's political views, but fortunately, I never disliked her character for it.
Now, I thought Jacob was the absolute bomb! He was dominant in all of the right ways. Emme was emotionally shaken due to a past experience, and Jacob senses this and serves as a strong anchor, especially when Emme's emotions became unclear and confusing. Jacob was a strong "uber alpha" who helped center his woman and, in essence, heal her emotional wounds. Wow! Beautiful! Just beautiful! I was completely enthralled and impressed with the integration of the kaleidoscope in the love story. It was a very sweet and touching aspect that made a sweet listen/read.
Narrators: Emma Taylor always does a fantastic job, and she was no different in this book. The listening experience was great!
This is Jodi Ellen Malpas's second series and it was good. Most notably, the second half was the best part of the book. It's when the real developments and action start setting everything into motion. Miller and Livy go through a very tough journey, but they never give up on their love and that was so special. I really enjoyed the great intimacies of Miller's "worshipping" of Livy and pulling her into "his thing." Miller's little hallmark sayings were endearing…."I concur" and "elaborate." It was so cute how Livy borrowed the sayings, periodically, when interacting with Miller. I did have a problem with Livy's "sass." Her so-called "sass," especially in the first part of the book was not fun, flirty banter, but outright disrespect toward Miller. OMG, in the first part of the book Livy was driving me freaken nuts!!! She came across as childish, spoiled and rude to Miller. I think it was Livy's immature thinking and reactions that overwhelmed the first part of the book making it boring and slow. It just seemed like filler material. However, the second part of the book made up for it….and it was all because of Miller!!! Oh, I really felt for Miller. I could not believe the challenges he was facing, and while Livy tackled their issues with the wit and force of a rhinoceros, Miller was steady, patient, and even-paced. Oh there are some really sweet moments expressed by Miller toward his sweet girl (even though she acted like a selfish brat most of the time).
There are a lot of love making scenes. Yet due to high pressure and duress that seemed to be coming at Miller and Livy from all directions, when they made love it was like they were mating in captivity….LOL…I know that's silly, but it's how I felt.
However, after the HUGE showdown, that is, the fight for Miller's freedom commences and all of the revelations are brought forward, there is this wonderful 2 hours of bliss for all of the characters, especially Miller and Livy. As a reader, I really appreciated that time of absolute ecstasy where Miller and Livy got to flourish in their freedom…OMG it was wonderful!!! And, the love making scenes meant so much more since they were completely free!
The epilogue was super sweet! It was in Miller's POV and oh that man….Miller Hart! What a dear! In general, I love great epilogues and one of the best parts of this one is that Livy finally gains a purpose outside of Miller!!! That was huge to me since she always seemed kind of lost, as a person. Oh, such sweet cuteness!!! OMG, loved the epilogue…the whole series was worth it because of the epilogue and HEA that everyone experiences.
Narration: Edita Brychta was superb, as usual! Her performance was brilliant!
Rant: Ok, I have an added rant here….What the hell is up with JEM inserting the "F-word" into Jesus Christ when the lead's cuss. OMG, that is so disrespectful and offensive and I hate it as a reader. I wonder if this is a trend in the UK, even though I've seen American writers do this same thing. I have never heard anyone use this swear word in real life, if so I would also hate it and scowl at the person….Seriously, there are other swear words that can be used that will be impacting…why be so unnecessarily offensive??????
In this second installment, Jodi Ellen Malpas’s writing continues to be lively, vivid and interesting. Her spectacular writing, along with the narration of Edita Brychta, makes this read/listen jump out and take on a whole other dimension of life.
I loved Livey’s grandmother Nan…OMG the woman is a hoot! I found William and Gracie’s story to be so tragic, but the developments about Miller’s past were heart-wrenching, and the kind of stuff that makes your stomach feel sick. This was a bit of a change for me because I could not shut off the constant comparisons my brain kept making between the leads in this book and that of the “This Man” series.
Miller is a much more vulnerable male lead, due to his past. Livey still can’t get over her love affair with Miller and refuses to let him go, even as the challenges continue to arise from all directions. There were a lot of precious stolen moments between Miller and Livey…some moments that reminded me a little of the movie “Pretty Woman.” Miller has neurotic ways, but given his background it makes sense that he would insist on compulsions that bring order to his life. Livey, is also a weaker female lead than Ava from the “This Man” series. In some respects she stands up for herself in a way that Ava never did, yet on the other hand she comes across as childish with her tantrum-like responses. Livey was also a kind of lost soul before her love for Miller developed. I wish she had some type of purpose in her life that made her a bit more interesting an intelligent that would have helped with her character development throughout the book.
Overall, I’m rooting for this couple! I want to see Miller’s invisible chains disintegrate. I want Miller and Livey to have their much deserved happily ever after, and I want the “immoral bastard” to pay dearly for the evil that was rained down upon Miller’s life. Also, I want some answers to the questions that were brought about from book 1.
Here’s to the final installment and hoping it provides readers with a fabulous ending and HEA for Miller and Livey.
I was excited to start the 3rd installment in this series, but unfortunately this series has taken a dive in terms of reading for enjoyment. The first romance between Jonah and Raven was a fulfilling relationship, the second, Blake and Layla's romance was labored, and in this 3rd romance, well Rex and Mac (or Gia's) relationship was downright heavy! This book was 60% suffering (dealing with the ravaging effects of child abuse--both sexual and neglectful in nature), 10% a personal journey the leads embark on alone (in their heads trying to heal or getting lost in themselves to not feel), 10% absolute suffering (emotional explosions), and 20% romance or focus on the love story.
So my own personal war was what the heck was JB Salsbury thinking in writing a story like this????? So dark!!! So heart-wrenching!!! The prologue was so horrific, so absolutely debilitating and heinous as it features Gia and Rex as children in an abusive household. OMG, that was devastating!!! It fired so much inside me....I felt like throwing up. I proceeded with the story because it felt like a "duty read," like I owed it to victims of abuse to read about leads with this kind of traumatic background. I skipped a few sections that were too heavy, and moved ahead and then came back...It was like a zig-zag reading experience. Not until the last 2 hours does it feel as though the love story between Rex and Gia is finally coming home.....
I'm not sure if I'm a better person for reading this book. I definitely do not feel lighter! But if anything, I hope it made me more aware of children in my surroundings that may be victims or sensitive to adults processing this type of abuse. In general, it made me feel sick, but I felt some relief at the end for both of the leads and the MMA group who are like a family.
Narrators: Erin Mallon & Ryan West just get better and better! This is a dynamic narrating duo! I love them both!
This was a really fun and enjoyable audiobook! I thought Callie Dalton did a great job narrating and representing the heroine, Iris Taylor well. The story is told through Iris's POV and she is an interesting character. Iris has her own story filled with heartache and tragedy, but OMG she's definitely got fight in her, and I loved that! Iris's thoughts are funny because she can be so crude and tends to hyper-focus on the feeling of throwing up or passing gas during stressful situations...a bit immature, but so funny! I liked the hero, Dex Locke, he had great sex appeal...masculine, brooding, moody, but very interested.....I loved how Iris and Dex clashed at first, but that's where all of the body language came into play. When Iris describes Dex you can't help but feel that his body language was screaming for her. The romance developed very nicely...it felt natural and each moment built off of the previous. When they finally come together, the reader is as fully invested in the romance as the leads because there was so much depth that had been created before they decided on making it a "forever" kind of love.
The plot, conflict, and build-up was nicely employed throughout this book. There was never a time where I was bored or felt that it slowed down. In this book you get a great brother-sister relationship, nicely developed steamy romance, great action and plot filled with ominous bikers, and fun and meaningful, surrounding characters. It's true this is not a traditional biker story, but I'm not complaining. Mariana Zapata did a great job! Her writing was fun and lively. Great audiobook!
OMG, the narration of this book is off the hook! Between the sexy-masculine voice of Ryan West, to the vulnerability brought about by the sweet & sultry voice of Erin Mallon, this duo rocks! I also really liked the continuation of characters from the 1st book because I adored Jonah and Raven, so it was so nice to see their relationship continue to progress and flourish.
Now, in regard to Blake and Layla, for me the romance was a bit labored. You have two very attractive people who have this great 1st encounter that further builds with strong sexual tension along the way. Yet, from the moment they acknowledge a kind of happhazard attraction for one another to finally giving in…it was a lot of work! I'm also having a hard time with the women Blake hooks up with to distract himself from Layla. Those were just douchy moments for Blake, as I hated those moments, as a reader. And, so add to the labored reading, the initial sex portion between Blake and Layla was also labored because of Layla's past history with her ex. So, when things were finally rolling out for the couple…BAM the height of the conflict in this book hits hard! OMG, it's a doozy…such build up & then suffering. After that pounding portion of the book I was finally happy to see the couple in good times, but it was too short and felt rushed at the end. Yet, we definitely get a great HEA for the couple and Layla's wonderful daughter. Wow! What a story!
Now, regarding the villains in both the previous book and this one, they have left me intrigued! I found Layla's ex-husband's character to be unbelievable, or perhaps, I didn't understand how a person could be so singularly moved with lust and self-preservation to guide his entire life decisions and relationship, in particular with Layla and Axel. The only way for me to understand both this villain and the previous (Raven's father) is to categorize them as sociopaths---selfish people with no conscience, or sense of remorse.
I'm hoping the 3rd installment is better than the second, but even though I adored the narration, I felt the love story was a bit too labored for my taste.
Dimitri and Jess have suffered with traumatic childhoods, but both have come to cope with these events very differently. Jess was saved by Dimitri's stepfather, and came away with a healthier mindset, while Dimitri felt abandoned and broken which fostered a thirst for vengeance like a malignant tumor---always growing and becoming more deadly.
As in any therapeutic romance with a mentally unstable hero, the heroine really goes through the ringer, and boy did Jess go through it with Dimitri. From dealing with his misplaced anger directed toward her, getting to know him and finding a connection, to dealing with the excess baggage of his previous girl-toy, add on to that a haunting figure from her past who comes to torment her, well, a lot of this book is exhausting. Yet, it's well-written, original, and good. Jess is beautiful inside and out, with a fabulous personality, witty and so funny. Both she and Dimitri engage in banter that lightens him up. Jess really brings in the sunshine to Dimitri's dark existence, and I loved that about her. Dimitri's tough, but eventually he becomes a likable character post Jess-therapy.
Regarding the narration, I was confused with the accent of the male narrator. He sounded middle eastern? I'm not really sure. He was good though. Carmen Rose's voice was feminine and sweet….she did a very nice job as well, but, in my head, I was always caught between two eras: modern and 1800's (because of the pirate theme). I just don't know of modern day pirates who sail openly in the ocean and dock in the U.S. and other countries freely.
In the end, Jess and Dimitri get their HEA, but it seems like there is more to come in their relationship….so does that mean another book is in the horizon? I hope so!
I was one of the fans who bought the 2nd book immediately when it was released. I didn't think I would get the audiobook, but I'm sure glad I did. It was like the difference of watching a film in black & white with no sound, to watching a vivid blue ray on an HD television. Seriously!!! Roberto Scarlato was freaken amazing! He brought warmth and a soft side to Julian, plus add the sexy. OMG, his voice is gorgeous & he did a wonderful job. Now, Shirl Rae, I can't say enough about her narration. She is amazing! She is one of my favorite narrators. These narrators brought this gripping, visceral, dark story to life.
Julian and Nora's story has fully captivated me. Friends have described this book as "moderately dark" and I think that is why I was taken aback by this story, because when the horror of how Julian had ensnared Nora is pulled away, well, at the heart of it, they both want each other. This love story is pretty intense, and I think, "moderately dark" is just about all I can handle (I'm a light weight when it comes to dark romances, I suppose).
This book takes place where "Twist Me" has left off. It has wonderful twists and turns, and very shocking situations that I was NOT expecting…..CRAZY SHOCKING, but the best part of this book was all of the "Julian and Nora" time. Their relationship is still visceral, fire-invoking, and far from traditional. Julian continues with his pain/pleasure sex with Nora. And, there were times I just wanted Nora to give him a smack down for being a psycho with her. (Yet, that is all a part of this story and Julian's progressive development as a character.) In terms of loving-making, he is an outrageously unpredictable lover in the bedroom. At times, he's sadistic and too much, other times he's a sweet, sensual lover. The bottom line is that Nora is lost to him, and Julian can't get enough of her.
They have some issues to resolve with the inequality of their relationship, and I like how Nora did develop more strength in dealing with Julian. I loved how Nora became stronger, as a person, and her level of bravery astounded me toward the end. OMG, she was fierce & badass!!! That fierceness that resided within Nora is what made her a fit partner for Julian-- like a missing puzzle piece. Of course, she still deals with inner conflict about loving a man like Julian, but it's evident, especially at the end of this book, that she adores that man.
On that note, in terms of Julian's feelings for Nora, you can see that his need and obsession for Nora is something that he is processing continually, and trying to improve. I love that Julian is faithful to Nora and his need/love for her is singular. He still struggles to categorize his feelings as "love" since he is not a good man. In fact, Julian can be a monster. So, getting into that......How to describe what kind of man Julian is--Well, what is the level that comes above an "alpha male?"--Because Julian is in a total different pond when it comes to alpha males. In fact, he's a friggen shark in the ocean when it comes to defining his power, strength and dominance. Julian is an independent arms dealer, creator and manufacturer who has both good and bad relationships with nations in the world, and an enemy in Al-quadar (a terrorist network) that proves to be his only challenge, but a close to deadly one. In that respect, if you have hated Julian along the way, well you might feel his outcome was a just consequence for the type of life he lives, but let me say that I was shocked!! I won't say more because that would give a bit away!!!
I will be waiting very impatiently for the release of the final installment. I did love the alternating POV's of both Nora and Julian and I hope the next book is the same.
Anna Zaires did an incredible job with this installment, and I can't wait to see what else she has in store for Julian and Nora.
I loved the idea of this book because it was so original, and when I listened to the narration of Carmen Rose, I was hooked! Carmen Rose narrated beautifully. She has a lovely voice with such a nice English accent that I enjoyed the way she brought this book to life.
At the heart of it, this book illustrates Stockholm Syndrome with a woman who falls in love with her captor, and vise versa. But, that dark aspect makes this read intriguing and visceral. Captain Hendrix (a pirate) scoops up Indigo and her friend Eric from a raft at sea, as they escaped a yacht explosion with their lives. Yet life in captivity is a pretty scary thing, and there were times in which Indigo's erratic behaviors made her an unlikeable heroine. I chalked down her teetering from selfless to selfish as part of her fight-flight responses and adrenaline rush, as a captive. However, Indigo, overall, was a brave woman who pushed through her circumstances hoping for something better. Well, Captain Hendrix is ruthless and completely unlikable at the beginning, but along the way his humanity breaks through and with many twists and turns in the plot, and reappearances of impacting people in Indigo's life, well you have one exciting adventure.
Was this story believable?---Absolutely not, but it was enjoyable. There are a lot of questions that come up, like why did Indigo rent a yacht to sail across the pond from the U.S. to the U.K., and why does the narrator have an English accent when Indigo lived most of her life in the U.S…..well, those questions get answered somewhat. But, you have to just read this book for fun, and not for realism.
Oh, the love scenes progressed from simply lusty to steamy and emotional. There is dirty talk and graphic detail in the scenes. One aspect I thought was somewhat comical was how Hendrix referred to Indigo as "Innocensia (innocence)"---yet, this innocent girl really knew something about finding a man's g-spot….OMG…crazy! LOL
I can't wait to read the next book and find out more about Dimitri and Jess's dark romance, as well as find out what new developments spring forth with Hendrix and Indigo!
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