Audio Review: Complicated by Kristen Ashley

Title: Complicated
Author: @KristenAshley68
Narrators: Lance Greenfield & Erin Mallon
Reviewer: Grace
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 18 hours and 14 mins
Rating: 4.5 Stars


Exclusively written for Audible, available only in audio. From the New York Times best-selling author of the Rock Chick series comes a story of love, murder, and second chances….

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.

Grace Review

Story – 4.5 stars
In true Kristen Ashley fashion, this story blends a sweet love story, family hardships, a mysterious crime, and small town gossip, to give a reader all the feels.
The sexy/bosy Alpha (a KA standard) to make you swoon.
A heroine who despite being broken down time and time again, keeps on getting up and fighting, making her an easy one to cheer for.
A sweet brother that will break your heart.
Three young kids learning to adapt to their new lives.
The evil mom who you just want to strangle.
The ex-wife who made the mistake of a lifetime (I tried to be sympathetic here, but it was HARD).
And a town that accepts/adjusts to the new relationship, in true small town fashion.

This isn’t the first book I’ve read that has covered the subject of divorce.  However, the circumstance of this divorce made it very new.  Without giving things away, I had constant anxiety that Hix would return to Hope.  And each time that anxiety built up, Hix went lengths to calm my nerves.  Despite the rocky start to the relationship, every day brought Hix and Greta closer together.

Hix does make a series of mistakes early on that had me doubting his likability, but when he gets his act in gear, he is easy to like. PHEW!  He has all of the qualities of a great KA Alpha, while being an amazing father and a very good sheriff for the town.  His connections to others take time, but when he commits, he goes all in.

As for Greta, there wasn’t really any time in the book that she bothered me.  What she grew up with and how she handled her brother, Andy, is reason enough to respect her.  But she has a great sensitivity to the whole situation with Hix.  While some painted her as a home wrecker, it is clear pretty quickly that the ship sailed on that relationship without any influence from her. She tries to distance herself at times to give Hix’s family space, but she also steps up to defend herself when faced with threats from Hope.  And how she handles her Mom at the end . . . “BRAVO”!!  Just perfect.

One of my favorite parts of KA’s stories are the H and h’s connections with children.  Whether it was Hix’s children struggling with the divorce and varying degrees of acceptance of his new relationship, or his kids interactions with Andy, these moments are so real, they add a special element to the story that is easy to connect to.  And then there were Hix’s many speeches to his kids that gutted me in the best of ways.  ALL THE FEELS!!

Performance – 4 stars
This audio book features two narrators, one voice for Hope, one voice for Hix.  While I thought the voices were well matched to the character descriptions, I wasn’t a huge fan of them with voices other than their own, particularly the male voice speaking a female voice – this rarely works out well when the male has a deep voice like this narrator did.  But I’m picky that way.

This was an unusual experiment for the author, releasing a book in audio format only.  I know a lot of readers aren’t used to this format, but as an avid audio listener, I downloaded and started this one the day it came out.  Audible made a wise choice with this experiment because this author’s work translates so well to audio.  She does gloss over anything.  Instead, she gives you the perfect descriptions to make it easy for you to visualize what she has created. The performance by each character gives the story more depth and was performed at a level that never had me bored.

Overall – 4.5 stars
This was released as a standalone, but I’ll admit, the first thing I thought when it ended was, I want more.  I want all of the kids’ stories.  As one of my favorite parts of the stories, I would love to see them grow and find their own love story, while giving me the reader, as chance to return to Glossop.

– Grace

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