12 November 2014

All or Nothing by Kendall Ryan

Hey everyone,

Hopefully your weeks are all going swimmingly and if they’re not you’re half way through so keep your chin up until the weekend. This week I’m reviewing All or Nothing by Kendall Ryan a hot contemporary romance. I loved the cover and blurb but what did I think of the book? Let’s find out...


The book:
As one of the world’s most sought-after male models, Braydon is no stranger to the finer pleasures in life. The last thing he wants to do is limit himself, especially when it comes to women. His best friend, Ben, might’ve settled down, but Braydon doesn’t want to waste his youth on the messy complications of commitment. He wants fun. He wants easy.

Ellie isn’t looking for a casual relationship, but her tough and sassy personality instantly attracts Braydon, who proposes a “friends with benefits” arrangement. Unable to resist the powerful pull of the charming bad boy, Ellie eventually relents, though she longs for all-consuming love.

As the two spend more time together, Ellie soon realizes that Braydon’s posing skills extend off the runway. His carefully crafted façade masks a secret hurt that he’s reluctant to share with Ellie, even as they embark on a passionate affair that sends them hurtling toward a fate neither expected. Can Ellie risk her heart while she waits for Braydon to let her in, or will she be forced to demand all or nothing?


My thoughts:


Firstly I should probably admit that I haven’t read the first two books in Kendall Ryan’s By Design series and as such for the a little while I had very little clue what was happening, who people where and how they knew each other. It was obvious that our hero and heroine, Braydon and Ellie, had met before and had some sort of history but what that history was I had know idea. It made it a little confusing to understand they’re familiar but caustic reactions to each other, however, this quickly passed and I soon immersed in their story. Kendall Ryan’s writing is seriously addictive; I just couldn’t stop reading this book, because I needed to know what would happen between these two characters. I was hooked from the first page where our hero and heroine prevent anyone interrupting their friends from having, an intimate moment shall we say, on their wedding day.

“Sex noises seemed really out of place in a church. Call me old-fashioned, but I was certain of two things: One, doggie style should be reserved for the bedroom, and two we were all going to hell”.

This thought comes from Ellie, whose POV we follow throughout the book. I liked her as heroine because she stood up for what she believed in and didn’t let Braydon walk all over her. Of course it isn’t a simple as all that and although she may act tough she does feel things deeply. When she accepts Braydon’s proposal that they be ‘pleasure pals’ or friends with benefits she agrees but is hesitant. The fact their relationship starts with a friends with benefits arrangement will probably key you in that is a fairly sex heavy contemporary romance. I thought Kendall Ryan did a good job of keeping the sex scenes interesting, varied and actually serving a purpose for the story as a whole.

Now lets turn our attention to Blaydon. From what I can gather he featured heavily in the first two novels as Ben Shaw’s best friend and fellow model. I can easily understand why fans were desperate to read his story, he’s sweet, sexy, understanding and did I mention sexy? Braydon is initially portrayed as a typical player who’s living the fast life with his modelling career and doesn’t have time for commitment. Yet him and Ellie are clearly drawn to each other.

“Why was every little thing so difficult with him? I shared my time, my body, my apartment, everything I had, and he couldn’t share the simplest of things with me”

I could understand Ellie’s pain because from her perspective Braydon didn’t seem committed to their relationship. Braydon and Ellie do not have a smooth road to love, but instead one full of hurdles. Now it was when the author got around to dismantling these hurdles that the problems started for me, however, I feel I can’t explain my frustration probably without spoilers. So this is a warning, if you don’t like spoilers skip the next paragraph.



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So one of the big conflicts between Ellie and Braydon in All or Nothing is his inability to commit. He won’t be seen out with Ellie, even just as a friend. He won't invite her round to his place. The reason, we eventually learn, is because he has a crazy ex-girlfriend. This all seemed plausible and I understood why someone would struggle to trust again. In fact I loved watching Braydon let down his walls for Ellie.

My problem was with how this conflict was resolved. Its dealt with by a three-minute conversation, over coffee! Seriously, Braydon basically told her he hadn’t been ready to commit and she just said okay and agreed to back off?! I just didn’t buy it, this women had been stalking him two years. She's befriended and then driven off all the women he’s tried to date, but suddenly Ellie suggesting coffee between the three of them makes it all okay. I don’t think so. This relationship and the resulting crazy is one of the driving forces behind Braydon’s actions throughout the book and should have been more thoroughly and realistically resolved in my opinion. To be honest, I got the impression that the author became bored with this storyline and just wanted to finish it as quickly and neatly as possible.


Anyway rant over.

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I just felt the ending to All or Nothing was extremely rushed. A lot of things were happening without proper explanation, reason or cause. To me it felt like the author wanted to give Braydon and Ellie the HEA with all the trimmings, when in fact it would have been fine to leave off the trimmings. Overall this book was good, but I won’t be rushing out to buy the others because of the unsatisfactory ending. It left a very sour taste in my mouth.

My rating:
Happy reading everyone and see you next time!