Review: Kaleidoscope by Kristen Ashley

kaleidoscopeReviewed by Carrie

I went into this one a little gun-shy because the previous book, Jagged, was only so-so for me.  I was so nervous that the author had lost her voice.  Well, folks, it’s a mixed bag again but I can say that I thought this was better than Jagged.

Jacob “Deck” Decker has been cruising along life ok for the past couple of years.  Finally able to let go of the pain of losing his first love, he is blindsided when he runs into his former paramour’s best friend on the street.  Emme Holmes doesn’t look anything like he remembered, but the same soft voice and sweet personality has him kicking himself that he didn’t keep in touch all these years.  Memories swiftly return of all the great conversations and enjoyable times they had and Deck resolves not to let her slip away again.  When Deck gets pulled into an investigation about a theft ring where Emme’s current boyfriend is a major player and she is fingered as a suspect, he immediately sets about clearing her name.

It’s been nine years since Emme gave a heartbroken Jacob a kaleidoscope and he shut the door on their friendship.  Emme missed Jacob’s friendship more than her friendship with his ex-girlfriend, Elsbeth.  She welcomes the chance to reconnect, but when Jacob starts to make advances, she becomes suspicious.  She believes that Jacob is still hung up on Elsbeth and could never see her in any light other than a friend.  What Emme really is doing is holding the world at bay because of a traumatic incident that happened in her childhood.  Jacob, older and wiser, knows what he has with Emme is real and isn’t going to let her go.

The story really benefits from being told in alternating POVs.  The dual perspective shows the romance move from a platonic to a romantic relationship.  I’m a fan of the friends to lovers trope because it provides a solid basis for long lasting relationship.  Emme and Jacob are likeable main characters.  Emme’s past gave her an interesting angle.  I love when author’s keep me guessing where they are going with a character.   Deck is probably the least alpha of Ashley’s characters.  He is sensitive to Emme’s needs and apologizes quickly when he knows he’s been a jerk.  Deck was gentle as he was insistent and they just made a loveable pair.

There was a little more suspense in this book than the previous, but I still felt like it fell short of the earlier books.  I do believe that Ms. Ashley’s edited books take away a certain meandering charm that her readers, including me, love.   Go forth and read, KA fans.  You won’t be disappointed in Deck and Emme.

Grade: B-/C+

*ARC provided by Forever (Grand Central Publishing) 

Click to purchase: Amazon

Kaleidoscope
by Kristen Ashley
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Publisher: Forever

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