Book Review – The Hookup by Kristen Ashley

by Maryse on December 24, 2017 · 6 comments

in My Book Reviews

The Hookup (Moonlight and Motor Oil Series Book 1)

The latest Kristen Ashley book promised tons of romance, family and friends, super-steamy scenes… and of course, our favorite… alpha-male bossiness. ;)

And GAH!!! THAT BLURB!!!!! Unrequited love and she knew the deal going in?? I was SO in!

Yes. Oh God, please let it be yes.

This was the beginning of something.

She’s the master of starting and ending a book. Her starts always have me hooked and already anticipating the angsty journey I’m about to embark upon, and her endings fill my heart to overflowing, with that huge smile on my face. But it’s the middle that makes it. It’s the realistic reactions, the fast, often one-sided, head-over-heels attraction, and the insecurities of falling for a man that has a whole lifestyle and demeanor that he’s not necessarily ready to change.

Marion: I think if men want to know what most women want in a guy they should read a KA book! Her heroes love, honor, protect and cherish their women. That’s why I love all her books and the Hook Up was no different!

Nay: I’m only 21 pages in, but so far, I’m enjoying what is reading like the KA of old (which I’ve sorely missed!) I hope it continues!

Maryse: I AM LOVING KA’s latest you guys!!!!!!!! I’m 25% in and STILL IN!!! This is PURE her, and I was of course, totally in from the start (she’s one of the best story-starters), and since it’s only 350-something pages, I know I won’t lose my focus).

Nay: Maryse–that’s exactly what I was thinking, this is PURE her! flower-printed toss pillows, ‘all that hair’, everything ‘fabulous’ KA!

*sigh* It was almost there for me, but….

The only thing I was missing?

The angst. The drama (and I’m talking about the serious, soul-searching, desperate realization kind of drama). The stuff we had to live through and hurt through in her past books (my absolute favorites). The misunderstandings (and even the hurtful understandings…), the blow-ups, the scenes that made my blood run cold, my heart ache… and the breakups. When it comes to KA-brand romance, instalove works for me, because it’s often one-sided, and the whole book is about that journey.

I didn’t know what was happening. What this was. Where it led.

I just knew I liked him a whole lot for a whole lot of reasons, the most recent him being thoughtful enough to give me the seat at the dining room table in his own home that had the best view.

But it seemed he liked me mostly because he could have sex with me and I amused him with my shy ways in the midst of me having lots of sex with him.

So what’s it about?

How about I give you a tidbit of that blurb that had me in a tizzy? THIS cinched it for me. Talk about a blurb-jolt!

She’s really into him… but he has her at arm’s length because he’s in love with someone else that ripped his heart out (and he has never been the same since).

“…Whoever was up next would be runner up, second best. Knowing the stakes, Izzy will take what she can get from the gentleman that’s Johnny Gamble. And even knowing his heart might never mend, Johnny can’t seem to stay away from Izzy.

Until out of nowhere, his lost love comes back to town. He’s not going back, but Johnny still knows the right thing to do is let Izzy go.

And Izzy knew the stakes…”

Oh how excited I was! From my interpretation, it promised so much that would have me devouring this, and yet… neutral

Now I know (and I feel bad… sorta ;) ) that it’s not cool to want the heartache and pain of her awesome characters, but it’s those circumstances, whether they be dire and scary, struggling with life and pining for love… or just full-on painful and vivid in its emotional reality. It’s THOSE circumstances that make KA romance raw, and real. She goes there. Or at least… she used to.

So that’s what was missing for me in this one. That blurb promised all sorts of heartachey possibilities (my mind went in all sorts of directions as to where this would go, and I was sure I’d find old-school KA in here). You know… the true transitions that are so worth going through to get there. True potential indecision, accepting (or not accepting) being second best, and the journey that falling in love like that could entail.


bev: So, I have been reading the Hookup pretty much all day. Very stormy so good day for it. And it’s……pleasant. *shrug* I feel like she comes up with these interesting premises and then at the end they all end up basically the same. I mean I usually am ok with low angst but there is no tension or even really any swoon. Just pages of people telling the heroine how great she is and how great the hero is and yet I never feel like they get to really know each other.

How I love those emotional surprises and not knowing when they are coming and what the surprise will be. That shock, those OH NO HE DIDN’T moments… and all that ensues after.

No kiss.

No cuddling.

No tender caresses and soft murmurs.

I lay in bed staring after him and continuing to stare after he disappeared into the bathroom feeling a hint of frost come. It came like in the movies, when the bad things come and the chill comes with them, at first invading a corner of a window, starting slow but then moving quickly, covering and crackling over the window, the whole house.

Except this frost swept over my body.

Oh yes. THAT is a quote right from this book, so you just know you’re heading for something intense!!!!

That hurt. It shouldn’t. It was me putting an end to this. But it did.

Or so I hoped. All of those awesome quotes up there are from the first 10% of the book. Oh sure, I highlighted a ton (she’s an awesome story teller, and I love how strong yet honestly vulnerable her heroines are… so real in that sense). So many highlight worthy thoughts and introspections. The first quarter of the book was my KA perfection.

But it got too easy, too quickly (for me).

Instead, the struggles (whether they be life struggles or emotional) were minimal and resolved quickly. Jealousy and insecurities were light, if there at all, and considering all that history and baggage (on both parties behalf) I was SURE we were going to get hit with some serious *ooooooomph*. Mostly, I suspect the author loves her characters so much, that she doesn’t want to put them through that. She’s done it, she’s been there with many of them in the past… now she gives them love and comfort from the get go (with a few light hiccups here and there).

It’s as if all the real angst already happened before this book even started (and it did!) We just… missed it, other than via light recaps here and there, in conversation. It could have continued in this one. I was envisioning all sorts of potential plot twists and drama, alas… this was a cuddly-sweet comfort romance, perfect life, dream-come-true and all.

I get it… I do. I just need a ton of oomph (both angst-wise and romance-wise) to have me emotionally invested, swooning and feeling it as if it were happening to me.

3.5 stars

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

bev December 25, 2017 at 8:58 PM

I know it wasn’t meant to be but I was so into that blurb that it felt like a bait and switch. Lol.

Maryse December 26, 2017 at 8:45 AM

I feel like it was, a little, too bev. Now that I look at it, after my read, I can see where it works, but for someone that are used to good ol’ KA angst and drama, this one SEEMED like it would promise some serious heartache and working for it…


Cait Connolly December 26, 2017 at 3:10 PM

Ah I have been dying to see what your blights were on the book! I felt exactly the same as you totally missing the usual KA ooomph!!!! Pity I just fee it could have been so much more!!! Bit disappointing!

Nay December 28, 2017 at 12:21 PM

UGH! I’m at 18% and still haven’t had time to pick this back up, and now I don’t know if I want to! The only reason I’m going to finish it is because I want to make sure I know the characters for future books.


Maryse December 28, 2017 at 1:46 PM

I’m sorry Nay… You may absolutely love it. Many did!


Joyce December 31, 2017 at 8:02 PM

I liked it! I agree it didn’t have the same angst or heartbreak as some of her best but I liked both characters, I believed their story, and I liked the supporting characters. I missed that she didn’t have an epilogue. I have read all of her books and the last 3 or 4 have been very disappointing so this was a pleasant sweet surprise. For me a 4 star.

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