Audio Review: The Cityscape series by Jessica Hawkings

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Title: Come Undone (The Cityscape #1)
Author: Jessica Hawkins
Narrator: Andi Arndt
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 7 hours and 40 min, 366 pages

Synopsis
The Cityscape Series tells a compelling story of devotion, deception, and forbidden love. Come Undone is book one of three.

Olivia Germaine has already found love. Devoted wife, loyal friend, determined career woman–she’s created the life she always envisioned. But when Olivia locks eyes with a handsome stranger across a crowded room, he peers a little too closely and sees emotions she thought she’d buried long ago.

David Dylan, alleged playboy and eternal bachelor, challenges Olivia to confront the life she’s built and to make decisions that could either lead to happiness… or regret.

Will Olivia be able to draw the line between lust and love? And can David respect that line?

Grace Review

Reviewer note: Since I listened to the whole series on audio, I’m doing this review a little differently.  I’ll have a review for the story of each book, and then end with my overall thoughts on the story and performance.

Story: 4 stars
SPOILER: This book/series has cheating.

Before you get your panties in a bunch, look at the synopsis again and chill.  I’m only warning you if the synopsis isn’t clear enough for you.

Most months when I get my 2 Audible credits, I know exactly what books I’m going to pick.  For the start of 2016, I didn’t have a clue.  So, like a good researcher, I went to my GRs TBR list and started comparing what was on my list and what was on audio.  When this book not only came up, but I saw that the full series was on audio, with one of my favorite narrators, I couldn’t 3-click fast enough (because you can’t 1-click on Audible, lol).

Cheating.  I hate it in real life, for obvious reasons, and hate in books.  Will I read a book with cheating?  Of course.  Will I enjoy the whole experience?  Probably not.  After starting this book and then days of coming home unsettled, I was trying to figure out why I was so tense.  Then I realized it was my audio book that was creating that anxiety.  Some people love anxiety.  Hell, I complained about this anxiety in a book group and several people ended up ordering this book.  This book/series, takes a look at cheating in extreme detail.  What causes the temptation?  What causes the person to give in to temptation?  What happens after the cheating?  How it affects the cheater and cheatee (sp)?  How it affects everyone else?  This book doesn’t cover all of that.  This book focuses on the temptation.  The pace is slow as the couples chemistry builds.

Olivia “Liv” sees David for the first time at a ballet.  They don’t speak, but the moment stays with her.  Several weeks later, she gets a second chance when they meet at her friend, Lucy, engagement party.  There’s an obvious spark between them.  Liv tries to push away, but she is drawn to David.  But doesn’t need take action on the feeling swirling within her.

There is a lot of push and pull between the two as they continue to cross paths.  I wanted to hate David.  He knows that Liv is married.  Yet he can’t seem to stay away.  And I often felt he played games with her to upset her, flirting with others.  But she’s married so it shouldn’t matter.  However, I felt myself caring what he did to her.  I know it was wrong.  It was just clear that they were so right.

To be clear, Liv’s husband is not the bad guy.  He’s not abusive in any way.  It’s clear he loves Liv deeply.  And she loves him.  But from the beginning, it just didn’t feel right.  I knew Liv was being held back.  Everything was “fine”.  Her relationship was fine.  Her job was fine.  David noticed how she wasn’t living life like it should be lived.  Every time they were together (not physically), she began to feel more.  You could sense how he made her come to life.

The major thing that bothered me about the story, was the mental games Liv played with David.  She seemed to dangle an apple in front of him, knowing how much he wanted her.  And then pull away.  Her back and forth grew tiresome.  I just wanted her to give in or move on.  While the sexual tension in the story is present throughout the book, the sex between them is not.  Do they give in to the temptation in this book?  I won’t say.  You’ll have to read for yourself.

This book ends on a cliffhanger, and if you are anything like me, you’ll want book 2 already loaded so you can start off where you left off.

– Grace
Audible

Amazon

Goodreads

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Title: Come Alive (The Cityscape #2)
Author: Jessica Hawkins
Narrator: Andi Arndt
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 7 hours and 54 mins, 344 pages

Synopsis
Determined to move on with her life, Olivia Germaine has vowed to forget David Dylan. Struggling to keep her head above water, she focuses on her new promotion and refuses to drown in the memory of their night together.

But when Olivia realizes what life without David means, she must decide if she is willing to risk everything for him… and if she is ready to reopen the wounds of her past.

Can Olivia move forward with her marriage despite her feelings for David? And can David stay away like he promised?

Grace Review

Story: 4 stars
WARNING:  Do not read this review if you don’t want spoilers from book one.

Olivia and David played a dangerous game of cat and mouse with their emotions in book one, as I called it before, the temptation part of their relationship.  Now they’ve had a taste of the forbidden fruit, so where do they go from there?

For once in her life Olivia has learned what true passion feels like.  In this book she is faced with two extreme emotions.  Guilt and desire.  While I was a bit frustrated with Olivia in book one, I was downright annoyed with her in book two.  She has committed the ultimate sin in marriage, cheating. This knowledge fills her with extreme guilt, especially given that she loves Bill.  (Reminder, he is not the bad guy in this series).  But from page one, it seems her body and parts of her mind, have already started to push him away.  She shuts down on all levels.  Everyone around her thinks it has to do with the loss of her friend, Davina, no one knows the truth, that she is empty inside without David.

Olivia knows what she and David did was wrong, but she can’t seem to stay away from him.  She lamely attempts a friendship with him, but when David begins seeing someone, Olivia’s jealously rears its ugly head, leaving David more confused.  I will say, I was not happy one bit with who he begins seeing, Lucy’s sister, Dani.  I shared Olivia’s hurt and anger with this revelation.  But let me be clear, their relationship is a bit one-sided, and I’ll leave it at that.

As Olivia struggles with her guilt, her body can’t help but respond whenever David is near.  These two gave me blue lips (female version of blue balls) with their sexual taunting in book one.  In this book, these two simply can’t get enough of each other and give into the passion often.  I was shocked at what Olivia did with Bill so close by.  David knows that he is right for her, that they belong together.  It is so evident with every moment they share.  But Olivia’s bullheadedness and belief that everything will go back to normal with Bill, kept pushing him away.  Her push and pull with him was downright maddening.  I wouldn’t have blamed David if he walked.  Then again, I was desperate for them to make things work.

Ugly and frustrating at times, this book really dives into the emotions of an affair.  How torn one can be with finding out their soulmate is not their spouse.  This book ends on an exhale, thank God!  Now I’m just desperate to see how things will last.

– Grace

Audible

Amazon

Goodreads

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Title: Come Together (The Cityscape #3)
Author: Jessica Hawkins
Narrator: Andi Arndt
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 11 hours and 14 mins, 475 pages

Synopsis
Come Together is the third and final installment of The Cityscape Series.

With a single decision, Olivia Germaine’s fantasy has become a reality. Now she is faced with two commitments: one she must make and one she must break. But in order to accept a love she never thought possible, Olivia will have to let go of the broken past that defines her – and of deeply-rooted fears that could ruin everything.

Everything is what David Dylan wants to give her, and it’s what he wants in return. He must prove to Olivia that despite his playboy ways, he’s worth leaving behind the stable future her husband can offer her. David is a man who always gets what he wants . . . but this time he may be fighting for something unattainable.

Can Olivia escape the past that threatens to consume her?

And can David break through to her before it does?

Grace Review

Story: 4.25 stars
WARNING:  Just like my warning from the last book, do not read this review if you don’t want spoilers from book one and two.

FINALLY!!!!  Olivia and David are finally together!!!!

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I feel like I and other readers deserve medals for our patience with this couple.  So, it’s all smooth sailing now, right?

HA!!!  It’s as if you don’t know this author at all.  Have you not being paying attention?!?!

All joking aside, this book was definitely less angsty compared to the two previous books, which near sent me to the hospital.  But there is angst, courtesy of . . . . . come on, you can guess . . .

Yes, Olivia.  Even now having taken the big leap with David, she seems to have second thoughts just about every two hours.  Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating, but it felt like it was at least daily.  Her second guessing was mostly due to Bill.  Yes, good ol’ Bill.  I had to keep reminding myself that he is not the bad guy in this series, but he really annoyed the shit out of me in this book.  The lying, the begging, the anger.  I get the last part, but that always followed the two previous emotions making him look like a giant ass.  This is not verbatim, but it went something like this: “David doesn’t love you, he’s a manwhore can’t commit.  Please stay with me!!!!  No?  Well fine, whore, go be with him and don’t come crawling back to me!”  See, annoying.

I haven’t really talked about Olivia’s friends in the previous books, but each have a very important stance in this book that greatly affects Olivia’s emotional roller-coaster.  Let’s get the bad out of the way.  Lucy, bless her soul.  I was completely torn with her reaction to Olivia leaving Bill.  On the one hand, it showed how damaging affairs can be beyond the couple.  On the other hand, she really didn’t give Olivia a chance at forgiveness.  She picked a side, the easy one, and walked.  Then there is Gretchen.  I really wasn’t a fan of her in the previous books, but she proves her worth in this book.  Not only is she a cheerleader for Olivia and David, seeing her friend happy and in love.  She also is there to push Olivia when she begins to overthink things.

While Olivia could be grating at times, David is beyond swoonworthy in this book.  From the Pretty Woman moment, to his extreme changes to accommodate and welcome Olivia into his world, I never doubted her decision.  These two also show that their passion doesn’t fade with time.  When they both fully commit to each other, forever, it’s a beautiful thing.

Performance: 5 stars
It’s not only unusual for me to listen to a whole series on audio, it is unusual for me to do it so quickly.  But I couldn’t get enough of this story, and the performance.  Andi Ardnt is one of my favorite narrators and she truly outdid herself with this one.  The emotion of each scene bubbled through the speakers, making feel everything Olivia felt.  Outstanding job!

Overall: 4.25 stars
This whole series has been one intense ride.  As I said before, I’m not a fan of cheating in books.  However, if you are going to have it, then you do it right.  And this author did it right.  She captured everything a couple goes through with the affair.  The conflict, the longing, the guilt.  She showed the beauty of finding your soulmate, while showing that in doing so, you can destroy other relationships, with not just your spouse, but with friends and family.  This story didn’t show everything in a shiny perfect light.  It was raw and emotional.  If you are ok with the theme and love angst, this series is a great one.

– Grace

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Comments

  1. Fantastic reviews! Thank you so much for taking the time, Grace. I hope it’s all right with you if I share them on FB. 🙂

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