by Kristen Ashley
Series: Colorado Mountain #1
Published by Hachette Audio on August 27, 2014
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Love is the greatest gamble of all...
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.
The Gamble is book #1 in Kristen Ashley’s Colorado Mountain series. This author is very popular, but The Gamble just didn’t work for me. I thought it was far too long, the writing was repetitive, and there were moments that were just boring. It started out strong, but quickly lost steam.
Normally, I don’t rate or write reviews for books I didn’t finish, but I survived listening to this audiobook for about 12 hours–and STILL didn’t finish–the total run time is over 25 hours! What is this, a George R. R. Martin book?! So I’m writing a review anyway because frankly, that’s 12 hours of my life I’ll never get back.
Nina is an American-born lawyer who works in England, where she currently lives. Her mother is American and her father is English. (Basically, she’s an American with an English accent? I don’t know.) She’s engaged to Niles, who’s successful and safe, but he doesn’t know much about who Nina really is as a person. Seeking a timeout, Nina books a trip to Colorado, where she’ll be staying at a remote cabin.
There’s a mix-up with her reservation and when Nina arrives at the cabin, she’s greeted by its owner, Max. Neither of them expects to see the other there and at first, their personalities clash. Max essentially turns Nina away, despite the fact that it’s snowing and she has traveled thousands of miles to get there. Nina leaves but, unaccustomed to driving in the snow, drives off the road and is stranded. Nina decides to hunker down in the car for the night (stupid idea, in my opinion). She’s also sick, so the next thing she knows, she wakes up in someone’s house, where she’s being nursed back to health. Max must have felt guilty for turning her away in a snowstorm (how chivalrous), so he went after her and brought her back to his place.
Nina spends the next few days in a fever stupor, but recovers and decides to stick around. Sometime during the few days they’ve spent together, Nina and Max realize they’re quite attracted to each other. This beginning to their relationship was so frustrating for me. They flirt, they bicker, they dance around each other a lot, but even after Nina breaks up with her fiancé (via email, mind you), she and Max still don’t really make things official. They don’t call themselves a couple and they don’t have sex yet, despite Max’s constant threats/promises of how he’s going to blow her mind sexually. Quit talking about it and just blow her mind already, dude. By the time they do have sex, I was bored with the story.
Here are some of the other issues I had with this book:
- Nina and Max have only known each other for a week, but they’ve fallen for each other and he’s talking about wanting her to move to Colorado. After a week? Really? They’ve literally just met.
- I had mixed feelings about Max. I like gruff, grumpy heroes, but Max got on my nerves at times. Sure, he’s hot, but he’s also rather pushy and doesn’t always listen whenever Nina attempts to voice her opinions.
- Nina bothered me because she’s so indecisive and passive about where things are going with Max. But when other characters are being jerks to her new friends, she makes a point of standing up for them. Yet she doesn’t do such a great job of standing up for herself, especially when it comes to her jerk of a father and lame ex-fiance.
- The writing is SO repetitive. It seemed like Nina says “Um” or “Max” or “Sorry?” or “I’m sorry?” every other sentence. Also, I lost count of how many times Max tells her, “Christ, you’re cute.” Ditto for every time someone is driving and performs “a three-point turn.” Maybe these things were more obvious because I read the audiobook, but the repetition really grated.
- Why, why, why is this book so long?! So many details about minutiae are included, like Nina’s polka dot pajama bottoms with a drawstring that she wears with a white cami, or Max’s Henley shirt and faded jeans. Or what they’re eating, or the scenery, or just…things that don’t really matter. If this book NEEDS to be this long, why not develop the characters and relationship more, instead of telling me about random details?
- Lastly, there’s a ton of family drama, both with Nina’s family as well as Max’s past. I just wasn’t invested in them as a couple enough to care about all of the people on the periphery of their relationship.
As I mentioned, I know I’m in the minority since this author is very popular, but I just couldn’t take it anymore and quit reading somewhere around the 55% mark. If the romance had truly been at the forefront, I would have liked this much more. Unfortunately, the quality of the writing, combined with all of the unimportant things happening, prevented me from enjoying this book. I would not recommend The Gamble.
Rating: DNF/1 Star