A new Kristen Ashley book is always cause for excitement and even better was the news that Stella Bloom and Lance Greenfield would be narrating The Hookup. Sign. Me. Up.
First off, I should say that I found the blurb a little misleading. That’s not actually a complaint because I preferred the way the story actually went. The book description references that Johnny Gamble is still hung up on his ex and after he starts a relationship with Eliza “Izzy” Forrester, he breaks things off when said ex comes back into town. (Because he’s still in love with his ex and he feels like Izzy deserves better.) Then, when Izzy’s evil ex rears his head, Johnny gets all protective and wades back in to Izzy’s life, only to find that he can’t get her out of his head. Parts of the blurb are true but there really isn’t much time when Izzy believes Johnny still loves Shandra. And there really isn’t much time where the listener is in doubt of Johnny’s true feelings and intentions. There isn’t much time that they spend apart.
Shandra isn’t a threat. That’s not the story.
The story is pretty much just Johnny and Izzy falling in love.
And it’s gorgeous.
Johnny has some alpha tendencies but he’s far more toned down than many a Kristen Ashley hero. He’s very sweet, he listens to Izzy and pays attention. He’s not afraid to talk about how he’s feeling and he’s good with babies. He’s just about the perfect hero.
Izzy is pretty awesome too. She’s shy and Johnny draws confidence out of her and unleashes her heretofore unknown inner sex kitten.
Johnny and Izzy have a scorching sexual chemistry but they also share many other things, including a love of animals. The bit where there’s a literal sparrow sitting on Izzy’s shoulder when she’s making breakfast is a little over the top but Izzy is a kind of Snow White (without the evil stepmother – for once the mother is a wonderful woman) so it kind of fits.
There is a little suspense right at the very end, but like in Complicated, it doesn’t feature strongly in the story. It’s mostly just a very sweet, very charming, very sexy contemporary romance and I lapped it up with a spoon. I had good book hangover when I finished listening (which I did in record time) and I pretty much immediately wanted to start listening to it again. Some of my reviewer friends loved this one. Some found it boring. So there does seem to be a fairly big divide regarding The Hookup. Listeners can tell which camp I fall into!
Stella Bloom narrates the sections from Izzy’s POV and Lance Greenfield does the parts from Johnny’s. The story is mostly in Izzy’s POV so Ms. Bloom does the lion’s share of the narrating. She is one of those perfect Kristen Ashley narrators because she gets the syntax and conversational style of the writing and delivers it perfectly.
Mr. Greenfield only falls down a little with the female character voices which are not his strength. They’re not awful but they’re not great either. However, he does deliver good Kristen Ashley hero and, like Ms. Bloom, he understands the syntax too.
The story was stellar, the narration was great and all in all, The Hookup was an early Christmas present for this listener.
The Hookup is Kristen Ashley at her best and consuming it by audio is definitely the way to go.
TITLE: The Hookup
AUTHOR: Kristen Ashley
NARRATED BY: Stella Bloom and Lance Greenfield
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
STEAM FACTOR: 6
REVIEWER: KaetrinBuy The Hookup by Kristen Ashley on Amazon