Book Review – Jagged by Kristen Ashley

by Maryse on November 4, 2013 · 29 comments

in Kristen Ashley, My Book Reviews

Nobody starts a book, better than Kristen Ashley. Nobody. I can think back to every single one of her books that I’ve read, and I can tell you EXACTLY how each one starts. How we “get into” the oncoming story. And each one… I swear it, feels like it’s my own personal memory. My own experience. My own thoughts. My own intense emotion, heartache, and my own relationship worries. My own disappointment. The realistic FEEL of these characters. These stories. THIS is what real “romance-angst” is made of.

While I’m on the subject of things that Kristen Ashley rocks at, I’d say she rocks at down-to-earth, so-MUCH-like-me “heroines”. I always connect to them. They’re a perfect mixture of silly, sweet, strong, and insecure. Somethings about themselves… they just KNOW. And some things… they doubt. They fall in love, HARD. And they live for that romance intensity. But they fear it, too.

They both find themselves in it… and lose themselves in it. I love (and can’t help but connect to) her girls.

Ahhhh you guys. When it comes to this one? The INTENSITY in the beginning of this book rocked my world. Made me cry my eyes out. I “knew” what I was getting into from the synopsis, but I didn’t realize I was going to actually EXPERIENCE it. I thought we were getting into it, after that. But I forgot. That’s not how Kristen Ashley works. We’re getting it all. Heartache, regroup, and personal struggles… growth, and maybe true love. Or maybe heartache again.

As I was telling a friend of mine (also a HUGE Kristen Ashley fan) when she asked how I liked Jagged:

Maryse: AND I CRIED with the prologue. And it’s not ’cause someone died or nuthin’ – not something obvious, to make me cry over. She made me cry over a breakup!!!!!!! A breakup between two characters I didn’t even know yet! So …. you now she rocks writing, when she makes you cry over something like that. From the START.

I was SO INTO the book, so emotionally connected, so overwrought and then I “flipped” the page, and hit “chapter one” and I swear I thought to myself… “OMG WHAT!!!????? I haven’t even really started the book yet?!”

My notes? “Already in tears… 5% into the book. Not even chapter 1 and I’m crying. Incredible.”

Sh!t. I knew this would happen one day. I’d hoped for a different ending but deep in my heart I always knew this would be how we’d end.

*nods* Yep. I was SO in. Already. But did I expect any less?

And now… let’s talk about the hero. Biker, bad-a$$ alpha (but of COURSE!!!!). A total rolling stone. “Wherever he laid his hat was his home”. Sorry. Temptations song lyric came to mind ;) (ahhh reminds me of my dad… my childhood. I love you Kristen, for always bringing me home…).

But I couldn’t help but think this, because it sorta describes him.

As far as I knew, the longest he stayed in one place was a year. Usually it was six to eight months. Ham was not a man who laid down roots.

Ham is not the commitment type. He can’t even commit to a place, let alone, a woman. A free (yet no-nonsense) spirit. He’s easy. And he looks for women who are easy, too. Wait wait!!!!!! NOT that kind of “easy”. He’s looking for a laid back, good woman. One that gets him. Easy-going.

I went with that flow.

But not necessarily a forever-one, ya know? But always intense, even in his “laid-back” expectations.

One could say it wasn’t much, but when you had him for the brief periods you had him, you had him.

As strong, confident, and set in his ways as he appears to be, he’s got issues. He’s all heart, but he’s all walls, too.

You’ll learn about them. I hinted about them, to my friend, Jo:

Maryse: It’s like… he’s deep, you know? He’ll start saying some weird stuff and I’m all… where’s he going with this? and then he makes his point and I’m FLOORED!

Jo: Oh…

Yep. Oh.

;) Exactly.

Her heroes tend to lead us into the deep, somewhat convoluted conversations. But by the time we reach the end, there is SUCH a deep, heartfelt understanding of how connected we are, how much we finally know him. How much we finally GET him. But to get there takes some time. And I’m ALL about the time and effort it takes for a budding (or re-established) relationship to truly be explored.

As in most of this author’s books, there’s often insta-lust between the two, and maybe even quickish-love (at least “one-sided” love)… but Kristen Ashley’s books are rarely (if ever) insta-love. She makes her characters (and in turn, her readers) work for it.

Melody: “…not sure about the names in this one…not sure how I’m going to love a tough guy called Ham…”

I know, some of y’all were worried about his name. Ham. LOL!!!!! But he’s got the hottest real name ever! His name is Graham. GraHAM. Get it? ;) Once I realized that, I was good with “Ham”.

So what’s it about?

Zara and Ham have some INTENSE history. Intense for her, I mean. It would seem, more… laid back-like, for him. Years of them being on and off (I think the longest time they were on was for about 4 months, where she actually lived with him!), but mostly, just Ham and Zara, always being somewhat of an “item”. WHEN he was in town, that is.

Ham understood the concept of exclusive; he just didn’t utilize it.

And months could pass where he wasn’t. But Zara was always there waiting. Missing. Hoping. Loving.

I nearly smiled at the same time I nearly cried. Again, pure Ham. No promises. No expectations. He called when he called.

But one day she decides it’s time to move on.

She’s met a good man, that seems to really like/love her. And when Ham rolls back into town, she lets him off. It was always him for her. But it was never her for him.

She tells him it’s okay. After all, they weren’t that serious, right?

He had other women, I knew. He didn’t hide it nor did he shove it in my face. He asked no questions about other men. He wanted it that way. I did not, but I never said a word because I suspected, if I did, I’d lose him.

Now he’d lost me.

Oh boy. *oooomph* But something this intense, this world-rocking…. life changing, well. It affects (infects?) every part of her life.

And she finds herself single again. Destitute. And coming from a bad family situation, completely alone. Until Ham comes back.

I’ll let you experience the rest. There are moments of *ooooomph*, a few slaps in the face, and profound moments of awwwwwwww!!! I just gave you a bit of the beginning. There’s tons more, where that came from.

…even when you thought you had everything in life, life found ways to give you more.

An easy 4 stars for the bulk of it, but absolutely 5 stars for that intro, and 5 stars for that epilogue. Nobody starts a book off better than Kristen Ashley. And while I’m on it, nobody ends a book like Kristen Ashley, either. This may be one of her best epilogues yet. Precious. Poetic. Perfect.

P.S. Thank you to the publisher for sending me this amazing book to review.

P.P.S. And thank you Kristen, for giving me my own Colorado Mountain Man. Ham is the ultimate gift.

“A man is not what he says, babe. He’s what he does.”


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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

day November 4, 2013 at 9:31 PM

Maryse I just started this book this morning. About to pick it up in a few minutes. I agree the begining was fantastic! I can’t wait to read the ending. I am so glad that you loved this book. I read only the first chapter and I already knew that I would love this one.

mitzi November 4, 2013 at 9:32 PM

I am not so patiently waiting for this book… and now, after reading your review, I am even more amped up to read it :) Can’t wait to lose myself in this book!

Yvette November 4, 2013 at 9:39 PM

Wow, I can’t wait to read this!

Sarah Theisen November 4, 2013 at 9:53 PM

Gorgeous review! I’m jealous that you have your very own Ham! Best gift ever!!!

Maryse November 4, 2013 at 9:55 PM

He truly is. *heart*

Val November 4, 2013 at 10:02 PM

I have this book and Mine preordered for tomorrow and am having anxiety about which one to start first. A choice between Ham or Remy. Aaahhh

Maryse November 4, 2013 at 10:06 PM

I know!! Add “The Edge of Always” to that mix, and it’s CRAZY tough to decide what to start. I’m hoping to have that one finished tomorrow morning, and to read “Mine” with the majority of our fellow readers. A group read? FUN!

Sara Butler November 4, 2013 at 10:07 PM

I just think no one can write an Alpha like KA. She’s the master! Can’t wait to read this!

Lindsay November 4, 2013 at 10:18 PM

Colorado Mountain Series is what started my KA reading obsession–No question which book I will read tomorrow! LOVED the review!

Val November 4, 2013 at 10:48 PM

The Edge of Always too? I preordered it so long ago I forgot. I may have to let my 5 year old pick for me. :) .

Rose November 4, 2013 at 10:56 PM

CANNOT WAIT!! And yes-her epilogues are really special… almost like their own “mini-book.”

Lia November 4, 2013 at 11:25 PM

Ham? Hu?! I have to read it!

Fritz November 5, 2013 at 1:11 AM

Maryse, you always write the best review! like SERIOUSLY woman!? HAHA and i definitely agree Kristen writes the best-est intro and epilogue. Reading both left you wanting more. aha.

Minha (BrazGirl in the Us) November 5, 2013 at 3:40 AM

OMG OMG I just got mine too… It’s so exciting… I love the colarado mountain series, no… I love anything Kristen Ashley… Thank you for intrducing me to K.A. Maryse ( I am an KA addict now

Heidi November 5, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Maryse, I agree with Fritz, your reviews are absolutely THE full of emotion! Since finding your blog, I need to get a job to afford all the books I keep adding to my NOOK TBR list! Not to mention I’m going to get the SD card today! Ha ha. Just finished MAking Faces…one of the best books I have ever read! Taking break from romance and reading Purity In Death. Then… So many choices…The Edge of Always….Chance of Rain, Insanity…. Keep them coming!!!!! And THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lisa M November 5, 2013 at 7:43 AM

Can it be read as a stand alone. I have a few ofnthe Colorado series but not all of them. I admit Mine was my first pick to read loving it and not even 5%in!!! Jagged will be next.

Maryse November 5, 2013 at 10:05 AM

It can… but I missed out on another book that he was in before this one called “For You” (and I think some BIG emotional stuff went “down” in that book, with Ham). So… even though it was all re-explained perfectly here, I wish I had read that one first (and it’s in her “The Burg” series! She crosses over)!

I might have really gotten to know Ham even better, (with “Feb”)…

Yep. He had someone else, before… :|

V. November 5, 2013 at 3:04 PM

I’m about 70% through this. Loving it but two things are bugging me. 1. Where is the father? 2. Why is it necessary to buy a new outfit to go meet someone that isn’t a date? Otherwise I agree with the four stars so far. It feels good to be back in Gnaw Bone.

Tracie November 5, 2013 at 4:09 PM

I felt the same way about the prologue. No one can write emotions like KA. She just has such a special way if making you feel like this is happening to you. Pure perfection.

Belle November 5, 2013 at 5:01 PM

So excited, just received my “won” copy of Jagged – thank you Maryse.
Wow, you have your own mountain man ….. So jealous!!!

marissa November 5, 2013 at 11:42 PM

Loved it! I accidentally ;) stayed up all night reading Jagged! It was perfect! Everything I’d hoped it would be. I adored ham but Tanned Lange from Golden Trails is still my favorite.

Jodi Blinn November 6, 2013 at 12:43 AM

I love love love Kristen Ashley! This book was great but not my favorite. It’s partially because the crew from Carnal just hold my love and interest more than those from Gnaw Bone. I wish there was a little more cross over bc I just don’t feel I know the Graw Bone group as well. Also, I am so happy that Kristen got properly “published”. Even tho I dont know her, I’m happy for her and I’m happy for all the more people out there that will have exposure to her books, but I kinda miss her pre professionally published books. Sweet Dreams was over 17000 locations and this one isn’t even 6000 and I miss all the quirky details that made me really feel like I knew the characters. That said, I am a hardcore loyal fan, look forward to KA release days and I dont think she could write something I wouldn’t like!

Lori November 6, 2013 at 1:18 AM

I love all things kristen Ashley, and stayed up all night reading jagged. I really liked it, not love, but strong like. I was wondering where ‘cookie’ came for and was never explained. It seemed really short for one of her books though. One of the things I love most about her books is how long they tend to be. I’m bummed I finished it already, and am ready for the next! I can’t wait for Apollo’s story, and the last of three books to come out.

Renate November 7, 2013 at 8:02 AM

Love Kristen Ashley! always delivers the imperfect/perfect man. Feb is from the Burg series and comes up again in other books of that series.
Definatly best prologue in this one.
Best Epilogue Evveerrrrr is in Creed hands down!!!!!
Its been a ‘tough’ week between Remy, Andrew and Ham…..And Ham does it for me for sure….the beauty of Kristen Ashley’s men is that they are who they are with and because of the Heroine with them…..easy!

Heather November 9, 2013 at 9:39 PM

So I just have to say I’m ecstatic his name is Ham and I haven’t even read the book yet. My great grandfather’s name was Ham and my parents made my initials HAM in his memory. Obviously this book was made for me :)

Teresa January 23, 2014 at 5:29 PM

Kristen Ashley’s books totally ROCK!!! I have loved and read everyone of them since I learned about her back in March of 2013 – her alpha males are wonderful and HOT!!! Graham “Ham” Reece is omg to meet a man like that – whoa!!!! I cannot wait to read Kaleidoscope which comes out in two more weeks – Jacob Decker is going to be the bomb!!!

Maryse January 23, 2014 at 7:53 PM

Off my man Teresa!!! LOL!!! ;)

Teresa January 24, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Hahaha!!! Which one Maryse – Ham or Deck??? There are so many of the men in Kristen’s books that I love and have re-read these books numerous times – my favorites are Knight (OMG!); Creed (Major OMG!!); Tack – whoa!!; Joe “Cal” Callahan (totally HOT!!); Tate; Sam and Hop (a badass biker who can sing rock n roll – WOW)!!! Love the others, but these guys have been my favorites!!! Cannot wait for the rest of her books to come out and the new series she is starting!! Do men like this really exist???? Hahaha!!! Because of her books I actually went to Colorado! Have a great weekend!!! :-)

Emily June 30, 2014 at 8:50 PM

Thank you!

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