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Soaring (The Magdalene Series Book 2) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 603 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Hoo-boy. Another one bites the dust.
This book can be summed up in one word: boring.
Unfortunately, I found "Soaring" to be tedious and, quite honestly, a chore to read. Long before the halfway mark, I was tempted to throw in the towel. It was a never-ending, nonsensical, rambling mess of a book.
The pacing was problematic. The book was 597 pages of mostly filler. More specifically, the book consisted of 597 pages that went into great detail of the most mundane and menial of tasks. To make it all the more frustrating, the book was rife with telling instead of showing, so much that it read more like a diary—a tween’s diary, and an exasperating one, at that. I’m sorry, but the author’s overly wordy, formulaic style of writing is getting old.
To be honest, I’m still trying to figure out what the actual plot was supposed to be. As far as I can tell, there wasn’t much of one. The book was stagnant. It just kind of chugged along, never really going anywhere. Nothing exciting happened. Certainly not anything that would require 597 pages to tell. Even if the book had been cut in half, it still would’ve been too long. I don’t mind reading a long book, but there has to be a reason for it. When the plot gets bogged down by wordy descriptions, irritating inner musings about absolutely nothing of importance, and other such nonsense, my eyes start to glaze over.
All that said, despite plenty of other issues, it was the characters themselves that I had the biggest problem with. Amelia, being an heiress, never had to work a day in her life. So, of course, that meant she spent the entire book dropping copious amounts of money on whatever her heart desired. She spent her days shopping, decorating her new McMansion, and updating her wardrobe. Fascinating stuff, I tell you. And when she wasn’t doing that, she volunteered a few days a week at a nursing home, because, heaven forbid, someone think badly of her for being so well-off. All of her other “free” time was devoted to Mickey and, by extension, his kids.
Being that the story was told from Amelia’s perspective, I found it a lesson in frustration to be inside her head. She was immature, shallow, and incredibly boring. The way she talked and behaved, one would think she belonged in high school right alongside her kids. She had about the same maturity level, if you ask me. She was all about clothes, makeup, gossip, and boys. I almost expected her to start pulling off flower petals to play the “he loves me, he loves me not” game every time she thought about Mickey.
Suffice it to say, I couldn’t relate to Amelia at all. It didn’t help that, on top of everything else, I thought she was a terrible mother. Perhaps my opinion of her would’ve been different—had she not put more effort into her relationship with Mickey’s kids than she did her own. Hell, it took her half the book to decide that a new car was probably a good idea, considering she was a mom of two and only owned a fancy two-seater Mercedes.
As for Mickey, I liked him when he was first introduced, but my fondness for him didn’t last very long. He was too hot and cold for my taste, to the point where he was sometimes downright cruel in his actions. However, I’ll give credit where it’s due. I usually start off despising KA’s heroes, but she has a way of turning it around. She writes redeemable alphas. But, in this case, I never grew to love Mickey’s character. He focused too much on the fact that Amelia was rich, and therefore, didn’t need anything from him. He’d move past it, only to turn around and throw it in her face, again and again. Rise and repeat.
I thought that "Soaring" failed miserably in the romance department. I just wasn’t feeling it, unfortunately. I mean, it seemed to me that, due to the characters’ age, they just didn’t want to be alone by the time they reached the age of retirement. I didn’t find myself rotting for them as a couple. I didn’t care whether or not they got a HEA together. Eventually, it got to the point where I actually preferred Mickey to end up with his ex-wife, Rhiannon. Due to Mickey’s demanding job(s), his kids, Amelia’s kids, and what have you, he and Amelia spent more time talking to each other over the phone than in person. And even their phone calls were boring. If I had to read one more “hey/hey back” conversation, my eyes were in danger of getting stuck mid-eye roll.
Also, I don’t care how unpopular my opinion is with what I’m about to say, I’m going to say it anyway. I happen to be a reader who prefers younger characters, but I don’t go out of my way to avoid books with older couples because, if the story is good, I can overlook their age. Having said that, however, I find it really disappointing when an author chooses to write an older character—in this case, a 47-year-old woman—only to make it clear that that same character doesn’t look her age, mainly because not only is she rich, but she has the right clothes, expensive cosmetics, and moisturizes 27 times a day (slight exaggeration). In fact, the only thing that even hinted at Amelia’s age were a few gray hairs, which were taken care of with a makeover. Why bother to write an older woman then? Mickey was just as flawless as Amelia. I know this is fiction, but a little realism would’ve been nice. I can only suspend my disbelief so far.
Overall, I thought "Soaring" missed the mark by a long shot. It was overly long, wordy, and incredibly slow paced.
To encapsulate all the feelings that a Kristen Ashley novel stirs up in me is always an ambitious feat in itself, her stories being an extraordinary emotional journey beginning to end, and this book did not disappoint. Mickey and Amelia’s story moved me deeply, just as I expected it would, but the sheer beauty of their romance caught me by surprise. I never expected to relate so completely to two characters representative of this particular point on the age spectrum, and while their sizzling chemistry is truly something to behold, the emotional aspect of their connection, specked with just the right amount of heart-pricking angst, took my breath away on more than one occasion. This is a story about life, about the unexpected journeys that life takes us on, about the curveballs, about the direct hits and the pain they bring, but it is first and foremost a story about second chances at finding happiness, about finding the strength to be whole again and fighting for what matters the most in life. A truly splendid example of this author’s inimitable style of storytelling—I walked in these characters’ shoes, I felt all they felt, my heart roared every time they ‘soared’, and in the end, I did not want to say goodbye to them.
“There is nothing guaranteed in life. But the only leaps worth taking are leaps of faith on love. So look where you leap, beautiful, and happy landing.”
Amelia Hathaway is a woman in her late forties, an heiress, a mother, a scorned wife. The unexpected demise of her marriage made her lose herself in her anger and pain, turning her into the kind of vindictive individual her privileged upbringing taught her she should be, but while reeling in self-pity and fury, Amelia lost herself along the way, the ultimate cost being the affections and respect of her two beloved children. In a desperate attempt to start anew, to beat back the anger and bitterness that poisoned her mind for too long, and to give her children the kind of mother they could not only love again, but also be proud of and learn from, she moves to Magdalene, the small coastal town her ex-husband and their children made their new home.
“No matter what it took, no matter how much time, no matter that it made me bleed, no matter what it cost me, no matter that it would take everything I had and force me to find more, I had to do what I’d come to Maine to do.”
But a new house, new friends, a new purpose in life mean little when one’s confidence has hit rock bottom, and Amelia’s wake-up call arrives in the form of a handsome firefighter neighbour, whose striking looks and protective demeanour make her wish he’d see her the way a man sees a woman he wants in his life. But she soon realises that before anyone can see her that way, she needs to like what she sees in the mirror.
“He didn’t need me in his life. I didn’t even like me in my life. Alas, I couldn’t escape me.”
Mickey Donovan is a single dad, a natural provider, a man who works two jobs in order to give his kids the life they deserve, even when doing what he loves means living a more modest life than the one he was born into. The slow downfall of his marriage has made him question all he can offer a woman, especially a woman like Amelia Hathaway, knowing he could never give her all that she has been accustomed to having in her life. But Amelia’s insecurities put a different spin on Mickey’s reluctant behaviour.
“He didn’t want me, plain and simple. I was just his…‘attractive’ neighbor.”
When they finally take a leap and give in to their attraction, they inevitably connect on every level, but they don’t rush—they take their time, they show consideration for the people in their lives such a union would affect the most, and they give themselves time to get to know one another. The true beauty of these characters is that they are two formed, adult individuals who know what they’d gain by taking a chance on such a love, what they risk missing out on if they don’t, and who are now prepared to work their hardest to hold onto the rare magic they found in each other. The slow evolution of their relationship is as it should be, gradual and organic, each emotional milestone sinking deeply into our hearts and making us smile in delight. And there is so much to smile about in this story!
“… there is no safer place than in my arms and when you’re here, Amy, you can give me anything.”
This is the tale of a woman who always had a lot in life, and yet all she ever wanted was a loving family and a man to stand by her and accept her for all that she is. And it is the tale of a hard-working man coming to terms with the fact that some women are not looking for glitz and gold in life, but the simple joy of loving and of being loved by a man who understands them and provides for them in ways no money could ever buy. With so many aspects of this story designed to tug at our heartstrings, this was not a book I was able to read in one sitting, taking my time to fully absorb the magnitude of some particularly emotional scenes in the story. While this might be in essence a love story, this is also a tale of broken families, of healing families, of new families. And it is a story of redemption, showing that we are not defined by the mistakes we make, but by the steps we take to correct them.
“I am who I am. I have what I have. And one of the things I got that I wanna keep is you.”
Soaring is a good read and one I would revisit. I think it is brave of Ms. Ashley to create a heroine who is not necessarily appealing at the outset. There is a "woe is me" vibe about Amelia at the start of the book. At 47, how much blame can you place on your parents for how your life has developed -- especially when you are living wholly supported by family trust funds? The idea of an incredibly wealthy woman (with a cadre of domestic help) feeling as if she has never had any "me" time even though her children have been in school for years is hard to fathom. That being said, Ashley does a good job of having Amelia evolve as she moves into a new phase of her life.
Many readers will be able to relate the the emotional aftermath caused by divorce and the ensuing baggage. The scenes with her two children at the start of the book are nothing short of painful.
Mickey is a sexy alpha family oriented man. There is no denying he is a great dad. I can't say he would be in my top five Ashley faves, but it was interesting to see him try to juggle everything going on in his life.
There are steamy scenes galore and very little of the convoluted alpha-speak from previous novels. In terms of originality of plot and a to die for leading man, I believe that The Will is a better read, but suspect this book will have a broader appeal. Definitely worth a read for Ashley devotees.
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