I have read a few novels by Kristen Ashley, and I have loved all of them, but I have to say, WOW. The Gamble was a delicious, fast paced read filled I have read a few novels by Kristen Ashley, and I have loved all of them, but I have to say, WOW. The Gamble was a delicious, fast paced read filled with romance and laugh out loud moments as well as some gripping plot twists. I absolutely loved this novel!
The first in the Colorado Mountain series, this held me from beginning to end. Our heroine is super fiesty, super funny and just plain awesome. She was a hoot to read, and so strong. I absolutely loved Nina. She took a vacation to clear her head, decide what she wanted out of life and ended up helping so many in the town of Gnaw Bone. I had hoped for a full length novel for Mindy and Jeff, but I am glad that they also got their HEA.
Nina and Max certainly walked through fire to earn their own HEA. Both had had some bad luck in life, broken hearts and loss. And yet they take a gamble on each other. Watching their romance, their relationships grow was liking joining a new and wonderful group of friends. The characters and their lives are so compelling, it's easy to fall in love with all of them. It's easy to cry with them and cringe at the problems they face, and the drama that plays out.
I won't say much about Max as a hero. I thought I wouldn't much like at him at first. But as the novel went on, I have to say, he was nothing like expected in so many ways. He was probably the perfect prince charming but with that tough alpha personality too. The two were a perfect mix. He wasn't soft, but he wasn't a beta hero. He was just...Max. Sigh.
I cannot wait to continue this series. It was so much more than I was expecting and I'm glad I picked up this sexy and sweet romance.
Originally reviewed at My Devastating Reads. Brenda Novak recently released a new Whiskey Creek novel, so I am keeping up with the series. I started tOriginally reviewed at My Devastating Reads. Brenda Novak recently released a new Whiskey Creek novel, so I am keeping up with the series. I started this a while back but it took me longer to finish than I wanted it to. It's not that I didn't enjoy the book, it's just that I got busy with this thing called real life. But I settled in and finished it finally, and I have to say, I just don't know.
I tend to like the novels in this series, though some have crossed the line for me in terms of the characters' choices. I also tend to find the romances lackluster. I like that the author has these characters have real life problems, even if sometimes they are kinda out of the realm of what most people in the real world might experience. What always gets me as a reader is that those stories seem to be what the romances pivot around, and this novel is no different.
Rod Amos is falling in love with his new neighbour. His new neighbour is a widow. Her husband was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend Sebastian, an ex-boyfriend who has been released from jail because his trial ended in a hung jury. I liked India's character and I felt for her in that she had a rough life and had built a good life for herself with her husband Charlie. Then the past reached out and snatched that away from her. I just didn't like that it was still so in her present, that the story became more about putting Sebastian behind bars than it did about India building a new life in Whiskey Creek, and her romance with Rod. That seemed on the back burner to this reader. And this why this series irkes me. It's great in that the stories are all well written, and the characters are ones I can connect with, but it never really feels that it's about the romance. To be honest, in this book I didn't even feel the romance, and I wasn't that invested in the characters. And that's disappointing.
I'm giving this novel three stars because the story is well told, the writing is polished and it kept me entertained. But those missing two stars are because this is supposed to be a romance novel and I felt zero zing and sizzle between these two. There was more sparks flying between Rod's brother Mack and their stepsister Natasha. Nice set up for a future novel, one that I hope will be more romantic. ...more
This book had a totally different premise and my curiosity was piqued. However, I hardly knew what to expect when I picked this up. I was assured it wThis book had a totally different premise and my curiosity was piqued. However, I hardly knew what to expect when I picked this up. I was assured it wasn't some angsty love triangle tale, and with that assurance in hand, I plunged into a beautiful tale of love and loss. Ike and Charlotte meet just as Charlotte is about to end her life, but their love story is an impossible one.
And a romance between George, Ike's twin, seems just as impossible. He has a lot of healing to do before he could be the man he was again, and although Ike is trusting Charlotte to save George from his grief and anger, it turns out that Charlotte needs some saving too.
It isn't exactly ironic that Charlotte falls in love with both Ike, who is a spirit that no one else can see, and his twin George. Ike after all, saves Charlotte from taking her own life before asking her to save his brother George so that he himself can move on, and George saves Charlotte from her own ghosts, and sorrow. She is anchored to both of them and even though Ike must move on, the love between them is palpable.
As is the love between George and Charlotte. It might sound like a mixed up love story, but while Charlotte and George both heal, Ike feels the pull towards whatever there is after this life more strongly. And once George acknowledges the hurt and well on his way to being whole again, Ike is able to finally pass on. It leaves a void in Charlotte, but it's the same void that is in George. And in this way, and in so many other ways, this couple is perfect for each other.
I loved Charlotte the best in this book. She was so fierce through this novel. She refused to let Ike down, even though her gift often felt more like a curse. An outcast, she fought hard in this novel to not only save George, but to do right by Ike and her gift. She's a character that is admirable and that won't back down, even where her heart is on the line.
Ike just made me cry. He was a good man and knowing that he wasn't getting a happily ever after, romantically speaking, was sad. I was glad he was able to help George, glad that he found peace and helped his brother and Charlotte come together, but he still made me cry.
And George...hurt so much. But luckily he had good friends, a great family and Charlotte and Ike to look out for him. He made me cry a lot too. The whole darn book did! I was so glad when he acknowledged his feelings about everything to Charlotte, and glad that he was able to clean himself up not only so Ike could move on, but so that he himself could really live again, live a life with Charlotte.
A beautiful story, but be forewarned dear readers, you'll need tissues. Lots of them.
Well, just the other day I was bemoaning the fact that nothing I had read of late had really shone for me. And then I read a book I simply could not pWell, just the other day I was bemoaning the fact that nothing I had read of late had really shone for me. And then I read a book I simply could not put down. I haven't always liked the books in the Whiskey Creek series by Brenda Novak, but there are several that I have really loved and A Winter Wedding is certainly one of them.
I had no idea what to expect from this book. I knew that Kyle was in love with his ex girlfriend, who inconveniently is married to stepbrother, but not read having the prequel (which is about Olivia, his ex) I didn't have the whole backstory, but just the facts.
So I walked in with no expectations, and found in Kyle a hero to swoon over. I hadn't really liked him much because of some things had happened in the third book in the series, When Summer Comes but he had been a really good friend to Phoenix in This Heart of Mine and I was happy that his character was sweet, kind and perfect boyfriend material. He's not exactly looking for a relationship, he's had to deal with the fall from a short marriage to Noelle, Olivia's sister, but when country music star Lourdes Bennett becomes his room mate, a romance is exactly what Kyle gets. And really needs. He thinks that he and Lourdes want such different things out of life that they can't make a go of a relationship, but he knows in his heart that he's no longer in love with Olivia, and that his heart belongs to Lourdes. I liked that because of Lourdes Kyle comes to realize that love endures. I also loved the fact that he didn't try to fool himself into thinking that it was best they were apart, that he was willing to try to find a way to be together and asked Lourdes to marry him.
I adored Lourdes. She was down to earth, mature and dealing with the hardships of life with real grace. Yet, she's willing to help Kyle get over Olivia and stands by him while Noelle, his delusional and dangerous ex, tries her darnedest to make Kyle's life a living hell. I seriously did not like Noelle and felt no sympathy for her. I cheered when Kyle stood up for himself and protected Lourdes from her attacks by denying Noelle access to money that she had no right to. And I was more than happy to see her carted off to prison at the end of the novel as well. But I digress. Lourdes had lots of chances to back away from her friendship (which was quickly sliding into a romance) with Kyle and move back into her rental home, but instead she stuck by him until her dreams of returning to the top of the music charts pull her away.
The writing is spot on in this book, easy to read, and the romance is well developed. Lourdes and Kyle fit so well together that the book reads with perfect fluidity. I adored the ending where Lourdes crashes Riley and Phoenix's wedding, and I loved that she reveals her feelings so openly for Kyle. In short, I was swept away by this romance.
I've been steadily making my way through this series by Brenda Novak. Some of have real hits, others have seriously frustrated me. This Heart of MineI've been steadily making my way through this series by Brenda Novak. Some of have real hits, others have seriously frustrated me. This Heart of Mine was Riley and Pheonix's story, and it had promised to be a doozey. After all, Phoenix had spent the last seventeen years in jail for the murder of a girl, Lori, that Riley had started seeing after breaking up with Phoenix. And Riley had been raising their son, Jacob, on his own. I was expecting a lot anger towards Phoenix, but I had no idea what she herself would be like.
First of all, I have to say I loved Phoenix. She thought so little of herself, expected nothing but the worst from everyone, and wanted nothing but to get to know her son and build a life for herself. Considering she'd been punished for a crime she hadn't committed, and hadn't exactly had an easy time in jail, I found her character inspiring. She is willing to look to the future instead of dwelling in the bitterness brought about the past. I don't know that many people would have that strength of character given the same circumstances. She hardly believes herself worthy of friends, and doesn't think that Riley's interest is genuine, but more a physical attraction, an itch that once scratched, will fade away.
But Riley not only believes that Phoenix is innocent, he is also attracted to her, doubting his decisions in the past, and determined that others in Whiskey Creek leave her peace. I was kinda proud of Riley, he stuck by Phoenix when it might have been easier to cave to his family and Lori's family. I liked that he let his son decide if he wanted Phoenix in his life, and that he fought so hard for Phoenix when others were trying to beat her down.
What I didn't like about this story was that it was wrapped up too quickly. Phoenix's innocence is proved, but the real killer is not brought to justice. That bothered me. And Phoenix's innocence is known only to a select few, and those people are going to keep it quiet, which didn't make much sense to me given all they went through to once again try and judge Phoenix. It's understandable that Phoenix herself simply wants to leave it be and move on with her life, but I wasn't sure that it made sense for others to let the real killer off scott free. I also didn't like that in the end, although Riley and Phoenix are together, that Phoenix still has doubts that Riley is entirely committed to her. The romance struck me as slightly unresolved in this respect.
Overall, this was an thought provoking, enjoyable read and with a story that keeps you engaged right up until the very end.