Review: Denial, Demand, and Surrender by Lisa Renee Jones (Careless Whispers #1-#3)
Note: These ARCs were provided by the author and the publisher in exchange for honest reviews.
He has been alone in his guilt for a very long time, but then, wasn't he always alone, if he never allowed anyone to see every shade of right and wrong that he might be. You have no idea how dark I can be. It is then I think, I have a dark side, too. That's why Kayden and I connect. We are alike in ways neither of us know.
Oh my. I want to be Ella Ferguson when I finally get around to growing up, and I wouldn't say "no" to my very own Kayden Wilkens by my side. Careless Whispers is a romantic suspense series that demands your full attention because you don't want to miss anything as bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones weaves a masterful story of secrets waiting to be unraveled and truths counting the days until they were unearthed. Gah! I read the three books over three days and it was the highlight of my reading weekend. This review covers all three full-length novels in the series--Denial, Demand, and Surrender--because it just makes more sense to put my thoughts together in one place and because these books cannot be read as standalones, meaning you MUST read each in the correct order.
We meet twenty-five-year-old Ella as she awakens in the hospital and by her side is thirty-two-year-old Kayden Wilkens in Denial. Not only is she shocked to find out that she's in Italy but that she's been the victim of a mugging in an alleyway that Kayden rescued her from and that she has no memory of anything prior to her waking up in the hospital. She struggles with her amnesia and with flashbacks that lead to her blacking out. Ella and Kayden share an intense connection from the get-go, but while Ella can't recall much about who she is, there are parts of Kayden that he isn't ready to share with her. What she does know is that he is The Hawk, the leader of a treasure hunting organization and is clearly not only wealthy but quite powerful as well. And that power means he has enemies too.
In Demand, Ella still has amnesia, but with the bits and pieces she's beginning to recall, there are moments where her frustration at having more questions than answers and inability to piece the puzzle that is her history together have her wondering if Kayden has been lying to her. Their relationship continues to be passionate and their feelings for each other grow, but will either one of them be able to live with the truth, especially if it means that they've been on opposite sides from the beginning? But everything does come to a head in Surrender, and with Ella's memories and Kayden's gathering more information about her past, they prepare to meet their enemies head on. When Ella's past and present intersect, the lives of those she loves will be at stake and a warrior will awaken again.
Okay, confession time: Prior to this series, I had only read two other Lisa Renee Jones books, Hard Rules and Behind Closed Doors, the latter connected not just to the Careless Whispers series but to the Inside Out series as well, which is the where Careless Whispers was spun off of. I already had my curiosity piqued while reading Behind Closed Doors, and now that I'm done with Ella and Kayden's story, I'm doubly curious about the Inside Out books that cover the love story of Ella's best friend, Sara McMillan, and Sara's husband, Chris Merit. Then there's also Blake Walker, whose own story is told as part of the Tall, Dark, & Deadly series. So yes, I've got those added to my to-be-read list; however, let me reiterate that you can fully enjoy the Careless Whispers books without having read Sara and Chris's story--although Ella is there--or Blake's, and I am making that claim based on my own experience.
I gave brief synopses for the three books but I tried to not include the more nitty-gritty details because, hello, spoilerville. You're going to want to take the journey along with Ella as she tries to put together the life she lived if she has any hopes of continuing to live the life she has now with Kayden. With every new tidbit that came along, I found myself wanting more, and of course, being the paranoid conspiracy theorist that I am, I was watching all the other characters carefully, thinking to myself who could be an ally and who could be an enemy. I'm tempted to say a bit more, but I'm going to hold back because I seriously want you to read the books and see why I'm now all obsessed by them. Lisa Renee Jones's writing was on-point all throughout and she had me at the edge of my seat with the suspense while falling for Ella and Kayden's love story. While I know the series has ended, I'm also holding out hope for an extended epilogue, maybe in the form of a novella, for Ella and Kayden, plus I wouldn't say "no" to Adriel Santaro and sassy Sasha getting their own story too. Individually, I'm giving Denial five stars, Demand five-plus stars, and Surrender five-plus stars. The series as a whole gets five-plus stars and I'm highly recommending it. ♥
Denial - 13 January 2017
Demand - 14 January 2017
Surrender - 15 January 2017
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