Review: Complicated by Kristen Ashley

Review: Complicated by Kristen AshleyComplicated by Kristen Ashley

Narrator: Lance Greenfield, Erin Mallon
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Audible Studios on 2 May 2017
Length: 18 hours 14 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
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When small-town Nebraska sheriff Hixon Drake meets Greta Dare, the connection couldn't be stronger, but the timing couldn't be worse.

Dealing with the fallout of a divorce he never wanted and setting up a new home for his kids, Hix becomes that guy, that one he never wanted to be, and puts a stop to things before they can even start. Protecting his kids and himself is his only priority.

Greta, on the other hand, has found the place for her and the brother she adores that's perfect for them - a sleepy little town in Nebraska. She's learned from life that there are no hopes and dreams. The only thing to look forward to is peace. And that's what she works hard to build for herself and her brother. Right up until Hix walks into her life.

Hix can't fight the pull and stay away from Greta for long. And Greta's finding it hard not to hope for something more with all the promise that is Hix.

But when the first murder that's happened in over five decades rocks his small, sleepy county, Hix has got to learn to trust again, convince Greta to take a shot with him, and at the same time catch a killer.

In other words, things are definitely...Complicated.

The Delight

A couple with some mileage, a small town in Nebraska, a murder, exes… complicated and oh so worth it in Kristen Ashley’s latest released exclusively on Audible with a fab narration team duo (but hsst, I hear its going out in electronic version in the fall so the pain will be brief for non-audio KA fan book folks).

Review

Complicated was a luscious standalone gem from an author that is hit or miss for me.  This one was definitely a hit full of later life dreams come true.  The book is full of all sorts of interesting plot threads that radiate out from the two main characters.  They were likeable and lovable and they both had lives that marked them so their character depths were well-deep and many faceted.

On the surface, it could be reduced down to two divorcees- one recent and one a few years old finding a connection, but not expecting the connection or what follows when small town friends and family are also involved.  That was pretty good, but what took this one deeper for me was that the author took the time to tease out what killed the old relationships and what built this new one that was stronger and richer for the pair of them.  There are exes, conflicted children, interfering parents, and all sorts of small town stuff including their separate friends and places of employment.  The mystery is interesting and Hixon is the sheriff so he must deal with that, but it was interesting in the sense, too, of how it hit the community and the family of the victim.

This author knows how to make ordinary people with flaws and their simple, but flawed lives fascinating and story-worthy.  I thought she was at her best with that in this one.  Hixon and Great were a surprising pair in some ways.  But after a few false starts, they really make sense- the devilishly handsome family-man county sheriff with the hair-stylist lounge singer once trailer trash woman with an adult brother with disabilities and a crazy ‘good for a drama scene’ mother.

Many times I struggle with this author because of writing style, but I did not with this one.  Characters didn’t get lost in their heads or unnecessarily drama this up.  There are sections of character development and reflection as well as action which was a great balance.  These characters were mature (well, the ones who were meant to be portrayed as mature) and acted like it.  And while this was long, it did not drag.  There is a lot going on and it all was natural to the story and equally engaging.

As I noted above, this is an Audible exclusive release and I was thrilled to encounter a new pair of engaging narrators in Lance Greenfield and Erin Mallon.  Sections were told by Hixon with Lance taking the lead and then sections by Erin.  Both were a great match for their particular character counter-parts and did a great job with the large cast of characters ranging from kids to older folk.  There are many emotions to portray and changes in mood that were transitioned well.  Humor, sadness, and firework-worthy passion was superb.

All in all, this latest outing with this author, her story, and the narrators was a trifecta of fabulous.  Its standalone and I think those looking to try KA for the first time would find this a great place to start particularly if small town romance is your gig.

My thanks to Audible for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges

Romance Roundabout #133 CR
New Release #69 Audio #34
Books N Tunes #21

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • This looks good and I am so glad that you enjoyed it so much. Great review!

    • Thanks, Cindy. It was easy on the ears and engaging me with the characters.

  • I m glad you enjoyed this one. I have had difficulty with her books so I have been avoiding them. I may give this one a try.

    • Yeah, it can leap and land on either side of that fence for me, too, Nadene. I enjoyed this one b/c the stuff that gives me trouble wasn’t in this one. Hope you like it if you get the chance. 🙂

  • I’ve always heard good things about this author, glad this one worked out well for you! I like the idea of ordinary people/lives that end up being so interesting! Awesome review, Sophia Rose!

    • Yes, I think that is her gift- making the ordinary, interesting. Thanks, Cyn!

      Have a fab weekend!

  • This author is so hit or miss for me, and reading one of her books is a big commitment because they are so long. LOL It’s been a long time since I read a ‘hit’ from her, but I’m glad you enjoyed this one, Sophia. It does sound good! Now to resist…

    • Buahaha! You sound like me, Angie. It really is a crap shoot if I’ll like it or get irritated by it so I get the resist thing. 🙂 And my stars, yes, you could use her books as booster seats or doorstoppers because of their page count.

  • Adriana Garcia

    This sounds really good. I’m loving the situation that they are both in with their unwanted attraction to each other as well as the mystery. So long though!

    • Yes, Adriana. That tug back and forth as they figured out what they were ready for and what they really wanted was a great part of this one.

      Yep, it was definitely a long one. Took me a few weeks to listen to. LOL

  • I haven’t read this author but glad to hear you liked it.

    • She’s an acquired taste and it took me a bit to get to her books, but I’m glad I did.

  • glad to hear you enjoyed this one. So far she has been a huge miss for me. But I’ll keep it in mind.

    • I was glad to enjoy it, too, because like you, I’ve had a few misses with her. I have a few more on my shelves that I’m crossing my fingers are good reads for me. 🙂

  • I’ve never read this author, but you certainly have me intrigued. I like the sound of the characters especially. Thanks for the great review, Sophia 🙂

    • Oh cool. Glad to intrigue you. 🙂 Yes, her characters were definitely the big draw to this story.

  • This one sounds interesting, it’s great to know that you enjoyed it Sophia Rose 🙂

    • Thanks, Vanessa. I was thrilled to enjoy it, for sure. 🙂

  • Debbie Haupt

    I love mileage in couples they really make me enjoy the read more and love the complicated on the star 🙂

    • Agreed. The mature ages and perspectives give a little something extra to the story.

      Yeah, wasn’t that cover designer clever?