Review: Kaleidoscope by Kristen Ashley

Review: Kaleidoscope by Kristen AshleyKaleidoscope by Kristen Ashley

Series: #6 Colorado Mountain
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Forever on February 4, 2014
Pages: 406
Format: eARC
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three-half-stars      four-flames

Sexy, gifted, and loyal, PI Jacob Decker is a tall, cool drink of perfection who had Emmanuelle Holmes at "hello." His relationship with Emme's best friend kept them apart for years, but things have changed. Now that a case has brought him to Gnaw Bone, Colorado, the road is wide open for Emme and Deck to explore something hotter and deeper than Emme dreamed possible. So why is she sabotaging the best thing that's ever happened to her?

It isn't easy to catch Deck off guard, but Emme does just that when she walks back into his life after nine long years. The curvy brunette had her charms back in the day, but now she's a bona fide knockout . . . and she wants to rekindle their friendship. Deck, however, wants more. Emme's always been the one; she excites Deck's body and mind like no other woman can. But a dark chapter from Emme's past overshadows their future together. Now only Deck can help her turn the page-if she'll let him . . .

Review

I’ve had Kaleidoscope on my shelf for some time.  It was given to me and it also happens to be the sixth book in the Colorado Mountain series.  I thought to save it and read the rest of the series first.  So there it sat and I didn’t manage the other books yet.  I discovered that I could get away with reading it out of order from other readers so this prompted me to try it again.  I’ve loved many of the books I’ve read by this author so I was eager going in.

The story opens with private investigator, Jacob ‘Deck’ Decker arriving in town to meet with a joint law enforcement task force that has come together over a string of robberies in the area that is stumping them.  Deck gets it done and he doesn’t come cheaply these days, but he’s willing to help the force since his best friend is part of it.

Just before he gets to his meeting, Deck encounters a woman he hasn’t seen in nine years who was a bright spot in his life, but he had to give her up as a friend when her best friend broke it off with him.  He barely recognizes this new bold sexy looking woman that is Emme Holmes.  Emme is happy to see him and he feels the sparks between them that hint at more than the old friendship.  Unfortunately, she’s with another guy.

But Deck doesn’t see that as an obstacle since he soon discovers that Emme’s man is a suspect in his new case and he’ll be helping her work out that her guy needs to be an ex and soon.

Emme never forgot Jacob and was more than sad when he stepped back from their friendship, though it was understandable considering it was her best friend that dumped him.  Now, he’s living nearby and something good could happen between them since she’s shut of her bad decision and Jacob’s free.  Only, with Jacob in her life now, something odd is happening and they may not get a shot at something together after all.

Kaleidoscope, no surprise, has an alpha male for a hero who’s solid and got his business together, a woman with some fire and drama, a girl posse and a guy group, a bit of a mystery and some healing going on.  It’s also, no surprise, a bulky thing with extra mental monologues for the heroine who comes across as ditzy a lot of the time as a result along with some erratic behavior that makes sense later in the story, and a whole lot of wordiness though for the love of Dove Dark Chocolate I really needed a genius like Deck to speak in full sentences now and then.  But I guess it balances out with her monologuing.

Deck had my full respect the way he stuck with Emme through each of her episodes of trying to storm off without all the facts, push him away, deny the truth he was telling her, and even attempt to break things off when they got real.  She had a sweet side and a giving nature that was combined with this ‘I am an island’ vibe that didn’t ring true though it makes sense when the truth starts coming out.  As a result of all these things, I didn’t connect as well as I could with their romance compared to others by the author.

Now, I might not have read more than one other of this particular series, but I’ve read several of the author’s other books.  In comparison, this one got off to a good start, but then lagged in the middle for me.  The ending was somewhat anti-climactic for me, too.  Lots of the excitement happened off- scene.  It wasn’t a bad story and was actually quite the spicy thing.  I liked the characters and the plot, but my mind drifted a few times and it was easy to put it down.

Side note- a beautiful kaleidoscope is the gift Emme gives Deck when they parted as friends nine years earlier and stays a symbol between them all the way through this book.  Lovely imagery by the author.

So I liked it, but didn’t love it.  I definitely want to go back and get the earlier stories and continue reading more by the author.  This one is for those who enjoy the alpha heroes, camaraderie in a larger cast of characters, spicy romance and a dash of mystery in their contemporary romance.

My thanks to Forever for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges

Romance Roundabout #73 CR
Literary Pickers #68 secret crush
Mt. TBR #27
Blogger Shame #8

Other books by Kristen Ashley that you may want to check out!

Review Fire Inside by Kristen Ashley Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley 
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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.
  • Debbie Haupt

    OOh this looks good!!

    • Did I tempt you, Debbie???? Haha! Always a plus.

  • I’m struggling with this series. I have the first three on audio and I cannot get into them. They’re not bad, but they’re just not holding my attention.

    • Oh oh, I read the one right before this one and liked it well enough and I bought the first two. This one didn’t grab me that much. Hope I do okay with the first ones, but now I’m wondering if they didn’t grab you.

  • I do love this author, but haven’t picked up this book yet. I do plan to since I just got it from the library. I do love the way she used imagery in her books though.

    • Hopefully, it really works for you. I saw all your great reviews on her other series. This one is so much gentler in comparison, it seems. But Deck and the other guys in the series are all definitely Ashley heroes. 🙂

  • I read one of Kristen Ashley’s books, I think from this series, and I liked it, but didn’t love it. It was SO LONG! And the writing/dialogue always seemed a bit odd to me. Still I wouldn’t say no to trying out more of her books.

    • That is a good sum up of how her books can strike me. Some I love with a passion while others feel long, a bit odd in the dialogue/monologue, and are okay.

  • It’s good that you liked it even though you didn’t love it. Sounds like there’s a good suspenseful story line to it.

    • With her stories I can go either way with love or like. I’ve yet to dislike one. I enjoyed the suspense element. I think there is a mild to moderate suspense element in each book of the series which I love.

  • I am with you on the lagging part. This book got off to such a promising start, and then it ended up falling flat for me, too. Also, I had issues with getting the villain’s POV for the end. Totally unnecessary, and not at all what I’d want to know about for the present or future. Lady Luck was my favorite of the series, so I hope you’re able to fit that one in so I can read your thoughts!

    Great review!

    • Yeah, the end didn’t bug me so much as had me wondering at it’s purpose. I have mixed luck with her books, but yay glad Lady Luck was a good one. I do plan to go back for the earlier ones. I’ve only read Jagged in this series.

      • Yes, I agree. I guess everyone has their different expectations with epilogues, but I always hope for a cute tidbit from the pair I’m reading about. Her books are very hit or miss for me, and they are so descriptive that if you don’t care for the character she’s writing about, it’s like nails on a chalkboard.

        I loved Jagged!

        • Haha, yes, my very first encounter with KA was with a heroine in Mystery Man, I think, and she went on and on about shoes and little black dresses. I swear it felt like nearly a third of the book was about her fixation on clothes and I could barely make it even though the rest of the story was fantastic.

          Jagged was a hit with me, too.

  • I’ve been wanting to read this series mostly b/c it is written in CO and I do want to try this author. It seems like a lot of people have mixed feelings about her work but this one intrigues me since you want to go back and read the earlier editions of the series.

    • Yes, I’m an odd person when it comes to her books. I love some and only like others, but I never hate any of them. I loved the book, Jagged, that fell before this one in the series and I’ve loved many of her other books, so I’m definitely interested in going back for the first ones and the one that came after this one. 🙂
      She does write some lovely and fun Colorado settings into her stories. I think at least five or six of her series are set there.

  • Oh, so not a fan of long monologues! I do like the two Rock Chick books I have read by her though. I also have several in my tbr. Not sure if this one would be one for me though. Good, honest review!

    • Yeah, I’m discovering I’m not a fan of being up in a characters head unless it is as fascinating as an action plot which generally it’s not. I’ve loved many of her books in other series and even enjoyed the one other I got from this series already, but this one? Nah. It was okay.

  • Hmm, all those long monologues. However, I do love the comradery between characters. Maybe this is better if you read from the beginning.

    • Oh yes, the camaraderie was a hit for me, too. Loved when the gals got together (sadly, mostly because they talked sense into her) and the guys’ bbq and work parties were fun. This one stood alone pretty well and my issues were this heroine so I think it wouldn’t have mattered about the reading order, but I am planning to go back for the earlier books in the series and have the first few so I’ll let you know. 🙂

  • I haven’t read Kristen Ashley before but I have some of her books to get to as soon as I can…several arcs actually. I do try to read series in order when I can but sometimes it is impossible. Sorry this one wasn’t a little better for you but glad you did find some enjoyment.

    • If you’re like me, some of those on your stack will amaze you in all the good ways, but others will be just okay.
      I used to be so good at reading series in order and ever since I started reviewing, I’ve accidentally requested or committed (or in this case accidentally clicked on) books I didn’t know were part of series. I still prefer reading in order, but have gotten good about coping with out of order. 🙂
      No worries. I’ve gotten used to sometimes not being all the way into her books. It really is a crap shoot for me, but I’ve never actually not liked one so I keep coming back. 🙂

  • I agree with everything you says. It has a great start but then starts to lose momentum. Not the best KA’s books I read.

    Awesome review, Sophia.

    • Thanks, Geybie! I wanted it to be a good one, but I ended up getting distracted in the middle and waited for something to happen. I’ve been told that the first few books in the series are the best so I’ll look forward to those now.

  • Oh the heroine. I think I’d need to have chocolate to deal with her. lol I really do need to meet her alpha males, though. Woo!

    • Yeah, me and Emme would not work out. First I found her ditzy and odd and then I was none too pleased about much of her actions or thought processes.
      But Deck, yeah, you’d want to meet him. 🙂

  • Bookworm Brandee

    Oh, I hope you’ll go back and read the entire series, Sophia. It’s a favorite of mine from KA – but then, I love everything from her. Haha I know you can read them as standalones but I think they work better when read in order but that’s just my opinion. I’m glad you liked Jacob and Emme’s story but I’m sorry you didn’t love it. 🙂

    • I will definitely be going back for the first ones, Brandee. I have books one through three ready to go.
      I love most of the books I’ve read of hers, but once in a while I struggle to connect with a heroine here and there. I’m a tough crowd for heroines already so that’s probably a lot of what happens.
      I’ve read a few of yours and Lexxie’s reviews which got me excited to pick this one up. Love seeing the book enthusiasm. 🙂