Warning: Major Spoilers and Cranky Ranting ahead.

Oh, dear. I wanted to like this book. Really. I did. I’ve been reading the Billionaire Boys’ Club series and enjoying them. In fact, Book 2, Beauty & The Billionaire, is one of the best books I’ve read all year. One of only a handful of 5-star books for 2013. But this one. *sigh* I don’t even know where to begin.

Here’s the premise. Our Heroine, Audrey, is the personal assistant to one of The Billionaires, Logan. She’s also been friends with another Billionaire, Cade, since grade school. And she’s been in love with him all that time. So she and her druggie, alcoholic, rock star sister go to Cade’s cabin in the woods so Daphne (the twin. Did I mention they’re twins? Not identical, thankfully) can dry out. That’s right. Instead of taking her to get her professional help, Daphne talks Audrey into going it alone. In the woods. With no medical training and no medical help anywhere around.

So they get to the Magical Cabin of Instant Rehab only to find ANOTHER Billionaire, Reese, in a hot tub with a woman. Because of DRAMA, Audrey manages to make Barbie (not her name) leave, screaming, wet, half-naked, and with Reese’s suitcase and cell phone in the only car they brought.

And then to round out our Party of Fun Times with Druggies, CADE shows up. Yup. The one Audrey has been in love with since grade school. Oh, and just to make sure we didn’t have ENOUGH going on at The Magical Cabin of Instant Rehab, Cade’s in love with Daphne.

So. To recap. Reese is a playboy who just had his new Barbie Doll ran off by Audrey who is in love with Cade who is in love with Daphne who is a drug addict alcoholic rock star.

And that was just Chapter One.

Oh, how I wish that was a joke.

My biggest issue with this entire book is there is way too much game playing. Reese figures out pretty quick that Audrey is in love with Cade, and not long after figures Cade’s in love with Daphne. Instead of treating Audrey like a person, he “teases” her in front of Cade and makes her uncomfortable again and again. Even though he knows she thinks she’s in love, he gets her to kiss him and to go skinny dipping with him. If he cared for her AT ALL, he wouldn’t do this to her. Through the entire book he acts like those tween boys who hit the girls they like instead of talking to them.

Audrey is no better. She actually takes love advice from Daphne The Detoxer, even AFTER Daphne admits the next day she has no memory of giving any advice. We keep hearing again and again about how WONDERFUL Cade is and how GIVING he is and how CAPABLE and SUPPORTIVE he is, and really, he sounds like a total sap. But even knowing all this, and knowing she believes she’s in love, and WANTS TO USE THIS TIME TO FURTHER HER RELATIONSHIP WITH CADE, Audrey still makes out with Reese, has sex with Reese, and even gets Daphne the Detoxer and Cade the Capable out of the house for the day so she and Reese can fuck all over the place. But really. She’s in love with Cade.

Here’s another gripe. Audrey the Amazing wants to use The Magical Cabin of Rehab as a way to get closer to Cade the Capable, WHILE HER TWIN SISTER IS COMING OFF OF MAJOR DRUGS. Now, I have no idea about the author Ms. Clare’s history or what research she may or may not have done, but I’ve lived with a drug addict. I’ve gone through the detoxes and the rehabs and the empty promises, and while Ms. Clare made an attempt to portray detoxing as unpleasant, she didn’t even come close. Also, someone who is dealing with a sister, a TWIN, whom she’s supposedly so close to, trying to detox and get clean after years of addiction wouldn’t even be considering using that time and place as a romantic getaway. Because nothing says Sexy Times like cleaning up vomit and other bodily fluids while trying to keep the addict fed, clothed, and away from anything sharp.

The Big Misunderstanding happens, and Daphne the Detoxer has a hand in it. Reese leaves thinking Audrey’s been using him as a replacement for Cade Her One True Love (hellooooooo?! Not really news), Audrey the Amazing gets pissed and snaps at her sister a little bit. Daphne then jumps into bed with Cade in order to get the Xanax he’s been giving her (Don’t ask. Seriously. Don’t. I’ll just get pissed again) and OD’s. Audrey and Cade get her rushed to the hospital where she’s put into ICU.

And AGAIN, we have a something which takes me immediately and completely out of the story. The family of a celebrity who has been rushed into a hospital because of an overdose would NOT be sharing a waiting room WITH THE PRESS. Would. Not. Happen. Especially with Billionaire Cade the Capable with them. If the hospital didn’t do it, CADE would have. They’d put the family somewhere else, in another waiting room, an office, hell, they’d even stick them in an empty room if they had to! No WAY would they let the family sit there with photographers and other Paparazzo IN THE ROOM. For that matter, the Papparazzo wouldn’t be allowed IN the hospital in the first place. The hospital would have a room set up just for them.

Reese finally hears about all this a few days after it has happened. He’s finally admitting (to himself only so far) that he might have feelings for Audrey. Problem is he’s at Man Night with his Secret Society Billionaire Buddies and he’s drunk. He knows she needs him, though. He knows he’s the only one who can push her until she lets everything out. He knows she’s having a hard time and needs his support now more than ever, but does he decide to wait until he’s sober before he goes rushing to his love’s side? Sort of. He decides to wait a few DAYS and go to her at a WORK cocktail party. Because that’s what she needs. To have a total breakdown at a function she’s WORKING where there’s tons and tons of wealthy, influential people, INCLUDING HER BOSS. Oh, and there’s some financial drama regarding Reese and his company which has been going on, but really I don’t care at this point.

He goes to the party and finds her. She breaks down. Some bimbettes find him. She runs. He catches her. They decide to have a committed relationship, even though his longest relationship to date was probably something like a week. They have sex in a closet and he proposes. SHE ACCEPTS. Oh, and the sex? Unprotected because he wasn’t going there to “score” and she’s “feeling the need to gamble.” Direct quote. No lie.

*sigh* They’ve really known each other for only a few days. They’ve had not one single serious conversation about ANYTHING. They have no idea what their goals are. They don’t even know if they’re dog people or cat people, much less how they feel about kids! I don’t mind an author not showing us everything, but this was just waaaay too fast.

Now we come to the worst part for me. The Epilogue. Three Months later.

It has been three months since the proposal, and they are on a private jet on their way to Hawaii (I think. At this point I was skimming. Someplace he can get her in a bikini) to get married. Her sister is still in Rehab, but in an ACTUAL rehab this time, not The Magical Cabin of Instant Rehab. And get this. Audrey’s pregnant! Yay, right? Except she’s totally stressed and panicking because she hasn’t told Reese. Why not? Because SHE’S AFRAID HE’LL LEAVE HER.

Seriously?! SERIOUSLY?!?!?!

She’s MARRYING the guy and she doesn’t want to tell him she’s pregnant because SHE THINKS HE MIGHT DUMP HER?!?! THEY HAVEN’T HAD THIS CONVERSATION YET?!?! She tearfully tells him and of course he’s The Hero so he’s all happy, but come on. If she’s STILL having these fears and worries, the LAST thing she should be doing is marrying the guy. I’d suggest counseling. A lot of it. For both of them.

Have you made it this far? If you have, here’s the Cliff’s Notes version. There’s no depth to this story. I never got the sense Audrey and Reese ever really got to know each other enough to LIKE each other, much less fell in love. And as a side note Cade seems WAY too nice for someone like Daphne. They all play way too many games and no one ever really has a serious discussion with anyone about anything important. If Ms. Clare had shown us even a little bit of that kind of thing, if we ever got the sense Audrey and Reese connected on anything other than the most superficial level, I’d feel more satisfied at the ending. Even if all the Discussions of Great Importance happened between the end of the last chapter and the beginning of the epilogue, I’d be okay with it, but knowing during the epilogue how Audrey feels about telling Reese she’s pregnant? Yeah, those discussions have never happened. I have no faith they have any idea what they’re getting into with marriage, much less be able to make that marriage work for longer than it will take for their tans to fade.

Too bad, too, because I really did love the last one. Maybe I’m an optimist, but I’m still looking forward to the next one.

Lynda the Guppy
aka Disappointed Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks

 

WARNING: There WILL be spoilers in this review. I’ll mark the point just before where they are, but they are ruin-the-end-of-the-book spoilers, and YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. 

I have a problem with Kristen Ashley. When I read her books, I lose whole months. The first time I tried her was the end of June, and next thing I know, it is 14 books later and August. So when I obtained an ARC copy of her newest book, Jagged, I was apprehensive. I knew I was going to want to re-read the previous Colorado Mountain books, but was I about to lose October, too?

Not yet. Thankfully.

Jagged is the latest book (and number 5) of the Colorado Mountain series, and I’m not sure I’d classify it as such. It’s kind of a cross-over book for me, because while Nina and Max from The Gamble play a pretty big role (and Kami even makes an appearance), Ham Reece is actually from For You, book 1 of The Burg series. He’s the guy February had an on-off again relationship with while she and Colt were apart. Also, there’s a subplot which references another subplot of For You, but doesn’t directly affect Zara and Ham.

It felt to me as if Ms. Ashley wrote Ham (or Reece as everyone else calls him) in For You, liked him so much she decided to use him again. Which is fine, however in For You there’s some angst as you feel he thought February could have been “his one.” And in one of the early scenes of Jagged, he’s just been injured (read For You. Really. Good book) and he goes to Zara. I was worried because it seemed too soon after Feb for me to feel this was a natural move for him. Luckily, Ms. Ashley must have agreed, because they end up spending some time apart. Still, it almost feels as if “Reece” and “Ham” are two very different men.

Once I got past that aspect, however, while I enjoyed the book, I would have liked to have seen more character growth. I liked how they both learned to share more and talk about things, but they have a couple of huge arguments, and I never felt like they learned from them. They needed to learn how to fight without throwing out cruel words, and I don’t think they ever did. They both just gave each other a little time, then made up, but they didn’t learn how NOT to do that again.

Also if Zara had the childhood she did, I don’t know if I believe she would have been as agressive with Ham as she was. Especially considering how they “never fought” before and now they’re screaming at each other. I think we should have seen more of her issues coming up there. And, again, that goes back to wishing there was more character growth between the two.

WARNING: Spoilers ahoy! No, seriously. Lots of spoilers from here on out. Like end-of-book spoilers. You’ve been warned. Proceed at your own risk.

I would have liked to have actually SEEN her father and her aunt get what’s coming to them. Having them just waiting for trial seemed unsatisfying and inconclusive. After all her father did to her and her sister through the years, he needed to be punished and I REALLY wanted to see it.

I was pleased to see the final resolution of the sister’s subplot and the redemption of Zara’s aunt. Also, I liked they spent some time deciding what was best for Zander, and not just yanking him around just because they wanted him.

While Sweet Dreams remains my favorite Colorado Mountain book, I enjoyed Jagged and will reread it along with the rest whenever I next want to lose a month of my life. LOL.

Lynda the Guppy
aka See You Next Month Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks

 RATING: 3 1/2 Stars

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