Audio Review: The Gamble by Kristen Ashley

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Title: The Gamble (Colorado Mountain #1)
Author: Kristen Ashely
Narrator: Emma Taylor
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 25 hours and 16 minutes

Synopsis
Nina Sheridan desperately needs a timeout vacation. With a fiancé who can’t even remember how she takes her coffee, Nina wants some distance to rethink her engagement. Flying halfway around the world from England to a mountain town in Colorado should do the trick. But when she finds a gorgeous man at her rental cabin, Nina’s cold, lonely adventure suddenly heats up.

The owner of the house, Holden “Max” Maxwell is surprised by the beautiful woman who turns up at his door. But when Nina becomes ill, Max spends days nursing her back to health. A private man with a broken heart, Max finds himself drawn to the strong-willed woman. Soon it becomes impossible for Nina and Max to deny their growing attraction to one another. Yet even as these two wounded lovebirds think about taking a chance on a relationship, a dangerous secret from Max’s past emerges-and threatens to end their love for good.

Grace Review
The Story: 5+ stars
I first read this book back in 2013, and of the 20+ Kristen Ashley books I have read since, it still remains my favorite. Based on how much I loved the audio books for the Rock Chick series, I decided to give this one a whirl. And now I’m back on a Colorado Mountain high!

Throughout my read, I desperately wanted to be Nina.  Beautiful, smart, selfless in many ways, and gets herself the hunky Mountain Man Max (Holden Maxwell).  *swoon*  Another perfect KA Alpha male, it’s like these guys grow on trees.  Pure perfection – sexy, domineering, sweet, talented, friendly, thoughtful, and fuck hot in the sack.

“Drenched by the time I touched you, soaked right before you came. Gonna love eatin’ you.”

I loved how when they fought, she would get annoyed with him because he was right, and he loved her pissed off state.  And how he called her Duchess.

“Duchess, you were up there a year. I didn’t have another cookie, I’d starve to death.”

“This happens between us, Duchess, I ‘d take care of you. Die doin’ it.”

KA really should work for the Colorado tourism board, every book I read, I am more tempted to move there, or at the very least, visit.  The townspeople of Gnaw Bone were a strangely warm crazy bunch (Arlene, Becca, Mindy, Mick, Cotton, Jeff, etc). There may be beatings, kidnappings, and angst, but KA always brings in a fun community/family feel to her books, that feels like a TV sitcom.  I wanted to crash Max & Nina’s A-frame for the pasta bake. I wanted to ride the ATV to the bluff.  I wanted Cotton to take my picture.

Aside from the fun and sexy times, the book also handled some tough subjects, particularly suicide.  How Nina handled her past and present were extremely touching.  Her private conversations with Charlie always got me teared up.  And although I was frustrated with how Max handled the Anna issue, when he finally brought it up, it all made sense.  Then that ending!  Why do you have to make me cry again KA?  WHHHHHYYY?!  *sobs*  So beautiful!

Performance: 5 stars
I have listened to nearly every Rock Chick audio book because I fell in love with the narrator.  So I had to wonder if KA struck gold twice.  And I can easily say, HELL YEAH!  I loved hearing Nina’s British (don’t forget she’s American) voice, Max’s gravelly one, Arlene’s mid-west twang, and everyone in-between.  Aside from the voices, the narrator delivered all of the emotion this book deserved.  I laughed, I cried (total ugly cry during Mindy’s scene) and blushed.

As I mentioned above, one of the reasons I love this series, is the community like feel about it.  The fact that this narrator captured that community feel, with each character’s distinctive voices makes it all the more special.  I literally felt like I was in Gnaw Bone with the gang.

Overall: 5+ stars
This audio reminded me why this is my favorite KA book.  The story is emotional, funny, tense and entertaining from beginning to end.  This audio doesn’t diminish the beauty of the story, only adds to it.  I’d HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book and/or audio.  KA at her best!!!

– Grace

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