#ContemporaryRomance #AudioBookReview -- Heart of Stone by Dakota Willink -- #Giveaway Inside

Heart of Stone
Series: The Stone Series, Volume 1
Dakota Willink
Narrators: Lacy Laurel, Jeffrey Kafer
Publisher: Dakota Willink, LLC
Publication Date: June 29, 2017
Length: 14 hours
Genre: Contemporary Romance
For more information: Amazon | Goodreads

Krystina Cole was a girl on a mission. She had big dreams and aspirations, none of which included a man by her side. She knew better than that - at least until she met Alexander Stone, the New York billionaire real estate tycoon. She saw the way that he looked at her, and the dark promises in his eyes. She was curious about his world and all that it entailed. But the shadows of her past haunted her, making her afraid to explore possibilities that she could never before have imagined....

Alexander Stone was a man who knew how to get what he wanted. He understood the value of finesse, and the importance of patience and diligence to achieve the desired result. He was successful and wealthy, relying on his naturally sharp instincts to guide him through life. But a chance run-in with Krystina Cole quickly turned his world upside down. Her quick wit and firecracker attitude was the complete opposite of what he wanted in a woman, and his instincts failed him at every turn....

However, both Krystina and Alexander are clinging to the secrets of their past, and neither of them are willing to compromise. Krystina's hardened heart makes emotional surrender a hard limit. But for Alexander, revealing his past could have devastating results.

EXCERPT from Heart of Stone :

Disclosure: I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Dakota Willink. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Let me start by saying this was not the book I thought it was going to be.

Perhaps, the sub-genre “contemporary romance” has several spectra. While one end consists of  sweet and clean romance, there are others like Heart of Stone, where a smooth, attractive billionaire rescues an innocent girl from an aimless life and escorts her into his lavish and lust-drenched world.

We meet Krystina, as she is working at Wally’s and she literally bumps into the most attractive guy.

Heart of Stone chronicles an interesting relationship that transpires after she takes a job that she believes will save her employer from losing his store.

The production was excellent. Leveraging to narrators for this type of story was brilliant. Jeffrey’s voice was particularly soothing, perhaps too much so. His voice, along with his appropriate inflections, helped me envision Alexander…ummm…Mr. Stone’s character.
Lacy’s voice depicted Krystina’s character well.

The book talks about the topic of BDSM and presents an interesting take on it. Krystina is quite the feisty one!  However, she has submissive moments. While the concept of this sexual practice is explained, the story becomes quite disturbing at times. For example, how in the world can someone, regardless of their financial status, manage to terminate another person’s cell phone account and create another one AND have sent to their home? Perhaps, this can happen. Either way, this added a thrilling component (for me) to the story line. The things Alexander “made happen” just to get this woman amazed me.

This is not my go-to genre, yet I have read one other book topic. I'm not sure if the author meant for Krystina to be the antithesis of a submissive in this type of relationship. However, this made the story seem plausible. In spite of her past, she is still a strong and independent woman and wants things her way. Yet, she yearns for what Alexander has to offer.

Willink presents an interesting story, where a relatively popular sexual practice serves as a healing balm for two emotionally scarred lovers.

Did I forget to mention what an AWESOME voice Jeffrey has???

Character development: 8/10 
Plot development:  9/10 
Quality of production: 10//10
Well-paced: 10/10
Thought provoking: 6/10
Entertaining: 7/10
Enjoyable: 6/10
Overall – 56/70 == 80% = 4 stars

About Dakota

Dakota Willink is a contemporary romance writer and editor, and the author of The Stone Series. She is an associate member of Romance Writers of America and a Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards winner.

Dakota has always had a passion for reading and writing. From the time she was an adolescent, she enjoyed curling up with a good paperback, reading genres that ranged from thriller and fantasy, to mystery and romance. She always dreamed of one day writing her own book, but had put her aspirations on hold to focus on her family and a career that would pay the bills. However, her heart continued to be with fictional characters – whether they belonged to a favorite author or if they were just stories that she made up in her own head.

In 2013, Dakota gathered enough courage to turn her dreams into a reality. In between playing chauffeur to two very busy children and working her job during the day, Dakota began to put words on paper. Eventually, she began to describe her life as a book. Everything she saw or heard throughout the day, intertwined with her imagination for the creation of future writings. By 2014, with the support of her husband and two children, she gave up the security of a steady paycheck and began working on her first novel full time.

Her first novel, Heart of Stone, was published in December of 2015. Less than a year after its release, the Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards recognized Heart of Stone as the 2016 Bronze Medalist in the romance category.

Dakota resides in the Western New York area, where she enjoys spending time with family, her two Labrador Retrievers, and her spoiled rotten cat. During the summer months, she can often be found soaking up the sun on the Great Lakes with her family.

About Lacy

Lacy lives the life of a full time wife, mother and household manager. Needing a temporary escape from time to time Lacy returned back to her first love - reading! After devouring everything she could get her hands on she thought, -what if she could mix her love of performance and literature in a professional capacity? Once getting involved in the world of book narration she quickly became hooked and when not with her family you can find her in her studio working hard to grow in her own storytelling abilities.

About Jeffrey

Jeffrey Kafer is an award-winning Audiobook Narrator and professional voice actor. Spanning over 350 titles, he specializes in Romance, Thrillers, Sci-Fi and more!

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