I say it right at the beginning of my review: The first book of this trilogy was the best. Yes, the cover of this German edition is a nice-to-look-at cover but something is missing. And the novel it contains was a nice read, but not as haunting and thrilling as the first one was. This book wasn´t bad, not at all. Only darker and with a completely different story than the other two books had. But for me, without any doubt, the first one was the best of this trilogy.

Alles Oder Nichts*
by Simona Ahrnstedt
High Stakes #3
Publisher LYX on March 16, 2017
Genre Love-Women-Erotica
Pages 697
Format Softcover
Source Publisher

Ambra is a successful journalist in search of a hot story. Tom a former elite soldier, whom terrible is befallen. Ambra has to return to the place where she never wanted to be again. Tom is trying here, to go back to life. In Kiruna, in the north of Sweden, where the coldness and the eternal darkness prevail, two people meet trying to escape their own past. Two people who wear deep wounds. And do not trust anyone. Two people who are overwhelmed by the attraction that reigns between them. They are wrong. And yet so scary right. But can they really cure each other? Or will their love destroy them once and for all? (personal translation by ©Vi at Inkvotary)
Ambra has to work on a story she didn´t want to do in the first place. But while back in Kiruna, the place she never wanted to be in her life again, she sees the man who made her childhood living torture. With him two girls. And a terrible suspicion comes up in Ambra. And then there is Tom. The man who fascinates her but also keeps pushing her away. So what to do when you can trust nobody, not even your own body, and still feel a desire and something you can´t quite name? 

I have to admit that over the first 200 or so pages it wasn´t easy to stick to it. Sure, the style was as known from the author: soft, well written and good to read. But the tone was darker as expected and it looked like the story wasn´t making any progress. Something I don´t know from the author at all. Her last books were lively, with a lot of sex and dialogues you could smile or laugh or just shake your head over. Here? You read about a cat-and-mouse play between two people who seem to be very naïve to a certain extent.

But then, oh boy! The author set off a firework and the story, the plot and the characters kind of explode in a sensitive but thrilling story where the search for love, justice, and forgiveness go beyond everything imaginable. Even Tom does things he never thought he would do. Simona Ahrnstedt shows a picture of the Swedish society, where things happen to little children, and the youth office is looking away or ignoring it. I am not going into detail because I don´t want to show spoilers in my review, but I really hope that some parts of this novel are pure fiction and not some kind of a horrible reality in the Swedish society. Because that would be really bad.

Good, Ambra and Tom are not like Natalia or David were or Isobel and Alexander. Not even close. They are breeding over the dark things that had happened in the past to them. Tom is still fighting for his love for another woman and Ambra does nothing else but to desire him. 

Ambra is a normal beauty with her wonderful curls and a normal figure. She has a strength inside and is used to keep her feelings for herself. No need to let the others know what´s going on inside her because that would mean that she is vulnerable. She believes in her work, that she can make a difference and she does her research very carefully. But she is also a bit naïve. She would never give a story out in the open without proofing that all the facts are correct. Her boss thinks otherwise about it.

Tom is a very handsome man. Tall, dark, controlled, and with well-built muscles you are not getting from only training in a studio. His team relies on him and trusts him completely. He is the one you call if you need someone who is in charge, who can control and decide within seconds without hesitation. But now he is only a shadow of himself. The man he once was, isn´t to see anymore. And that he doesn´t know some facts about women was quite a surprise. He is way over 30 and still kind of a male virgin in some ways.

If you can make it over the first 250 pages, you will be rewarded with a wonderful novel about love and passion. Friendship means everything. Loyalty is important and can be a real lifesaver and the landscape the author shows in this book: fantastic. A well-written conclusion to the High Stakes Trilogy.

Happy reading

*At the time, this review was written and published, no release date and English title were known for this novel. This book was kindly provided to me by LYX in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. 

Simona Ahrnstedt
Simona Ahrnstedt ©Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin

Simona Ahrnstedt was born in Prague and is a licensed psychologist, a cognitive behavioral therapist, and most importantly, a bestselling author. As her novels have swept bestseller lists in her native Sweden, she has become a spokesperson for books by women, for women, and about women. Her provocative women´s fiction has been sold in multiple languages as well as audio format. She lives outside of Stockholm, Sweden, with her two teenagers.


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