This poignant novella, which gives Rosemary Beach fans the backstory of Harlow’5 – Beautiful, Bittersweet, Heartrending – stars – Contemporary Romance
This poignant novella, which gives Rosemary Beach fans the backstory of Harlow’s parents, rock legend, Kiro Manning, and his one and only true and forever love, Emily, is Abbi Glines at her very best. It’s such a beautiful, emotional, sweet, and heartbreaking story. *sniffle* I absolutely loved it! I’d recommend reading Harlow’s books, Take a Chance and One More Chance, before this story to have complete understanding and better appreciation for it.
There are so many touching quotable lines/moments from this novella, but here are my most sigh-and-sob-worthy favorites.
(view spoiler)[With one kiss, my life had been altered. It would follow a different path now. One where a woman owned my heart.
“I love you, Emily. I shouldn’t have told you for the first time when I was about to sink inside of you, but I couldn’t keep it in. I’m so fucking in love with you it scares me. I’ve never been in love. I may suck at this.”
But I’d daydreamed about it. I’d thought of ways to propose and imagined life as a husband and a dad. I just wanted to live this life with Emily and our baby. I kissed her as I covered hand with my own. “Mine. This is mine,” I repeated between kisses, and held her against me. “Marry me, Emmy. I want you to be my wife. I want you to have my name. I was waiting until the perfect moment, when I had the perfect ring, but I can’t think of anything more perfect than right here and right now.”
“I love you, Emily. I will always love you. This life and the one after and the one after that. I will always only love you.” Her soft laughter filled the room. “We only get one life,” she said. “I don’t believe that. I won’t accept it. I want a million lives with you. You’re my heaven.”
“She looks like you,” I said as I studied the baby’s small face. “I see you in her, too.” I thought she was imagining things, but I didn’t care. I wanted my daughter to look like her mother. I’d have two angels on this earth now. “I’ll keep her safe. I’ll keep you both safe. My girls will always be the most important people in my life. Nothing will ever come before you two. I swear it.” “Thank you for this. For her. For giving me this life.”
“I love you, Kiro Manning. Thank you for showing me the man no one else gets to see.”
In every lifetime, I believe that each soul is given one mate. Don’t get me wrong, I think that a person can fall in love more than one time. But finding your soul mate is a different matter altogether. You don’t just love that person, you adore him or her. That person is your world. Your reason for living. The one thing in this life that will make everything OK. When you find your soul mate, you’ve found your purpose. To love that one person. To experience life with that one person. Problem with all this is, what happens when you lose your soul mate? When that one person you will love for fucking eternity is taken from you? It destroys you. It shatters you. It takes a part of you that you will never get back. No one can heal you. No one can take your soul mate’s place. That person will forever be your other half. Your one true love.
I was lost. Until Emily. She changed me. She showed me the color in life. She gave me a reason to love this life I was given. She loved me in a way no one has ever loved me. Emily is my soul mate. In this life and in the next, she will be the one soul who completes me.
Now, twenty years later, I sit beside my wife, her soft, fragile hand in mine. We look out over the lake, and I tell her stories of our past. I remind her how much I love her. And I remind her that I will love her in the next life, too. She may no longer be able to speak, and her body may no longer work the way it once did, but inside is my Emmy. She remembers all our adventures together. She knows that for a short time, we had it all.
I press a kiss to her cheek and hold her face in my hands. This woman is my salvation. She is my anchor in this world. “My angel,” I whisper to her, reminding her who she is to me.(hide spoiler)]
This quote from Augustus Waters in The Fault in Our Stars perfectly expresses my feelings abo5++++ Infinite Stars – Contemporary/YA Fiction/Romance
This quote from Augustus Waters in The Fault in Our Stars perfectly expresses my feelings about this book.
“My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.”
I’m just incapable of coherently and intelligently expressing my myriad, jumbled mix of thoughts and emotions about this astoundingly beautiful, resonant, insightful, heartbreaking, funny, existential, quirky, charming, poignant, and unforgettable love story.
The Fault in Our Stars eloquently emphasizes the inherent and indomitable privilege and gift in simply loving someone. It’s a book that left me emotionally gutted, inspired and uplifted, and reverently awed over the transformative power of the written word. Hazel and Gus will stay with me, forever....more
I was somewhat underwhelmed by the first book in this series, Come Away With Me, but I’m soooo glad5 stars – Contemporary Erotic Romance
I loved this!
I was somewhat underwhelmed by the first book in this series, Come Away With Me, but I’m soooo glad I kept reading because the rest have been some of my favorite reads of this year; not to mention having some of the most memorable, swoonalicious heroes. (Nate McKenna from Fight With Me is one of my all-time favorite husband harem worthy heroes!)
I had high expectations for this one from all the circling and tension that’s built between Caleb and Brynna in past books, and it definitely delivered. Caleb is a hot/cold, growly, sexy alpha SEAL hero with a sensitive, caring, protective nature who’s also vulnerable and tormented by inner demons and PTSD. Brynna is a strong and loyal heroine and she was perfect for him. I loved them together! I also adored Caleb’s relationship with Brynna’s inquisitive, vivacious twin six-year-old girls, Maddie and Josie. There were some very precious and poignant moments between them. And the ending and epilogue was satisfying and brought on some waterworks.
I love the close-knit Montgomery family and all their extended clan. One of the best things about this series is the relationships and interactions between all the characters and how much involvement there is in each book. The sexual teasing and hilarity that often results when the men and women get together provide some of the best and most highly entertaining moments. (The scene I posted below is one such instance.)
I can’t wait for hot, protective cop with a kinky side Matt’s book, Tied With Me, to come out! And I really hope she writes Dom’s story!
I loved this scene when the gang’s all together playing a dirty board game and Caleb is still trying to deny and resist his strong attraction and feelings for Brynna.
I drop my face to my hands and scrub hard.
"I wish I had your boobs," I hear Sam announce and raise my head to see who she's talking to. Of course, she's talking to Bryn.
"Right," she smirks and takes another bite of brownie.
"Dude, I do!" And just like that, Sam saunters across the room and cups Brynna's tit in her palm. "See? You have the perfect boobs. Stace, have you felt her boobs?"
Just kill me. Put a bullet in my head and end the agony.
"Oh yeah," Stacy waves her off. "She has great tits."
She has amazing tits.
"I wanna feel!" Jules bounces over and joins in.
"Give me more chocolate and you can touch all you want." Brynna laughs and then glances over at me. "This is the most action I've had in months."
"Motherfuckingsonofawhore." I grumble.
"Is Brynna single?" Mark asks Will.
"Keep your fucking hands off her," I growl at him before I know what's coming out of my mouth.
"Hey," he holds his hands up in surrender and laughs. "It was just an innocent question."
A++wesome! An amazing, intense, gripping, emotional, and gratifying conclusion to a phenomenal series! I love Daem5+ stars – Paranormal/Sci-Fi Romance
A++wesome! An amazing, intense, gripping, emotional, and gratifying conclusion to a phenomenal series! I love Daemon and Katy, and they are stronger and better than ever! I’m really going to miss them. *Sigh, sniff*
I really hope Ms. Armentrout revisits the Lux/Arum world in the future because I would love to see more of Daemon and Kat, Dawson and Beth, Hunter and Serena, Dee and Archer, Luc, and Hunter’s brothers. And even though this was a stellar, satisfying conclusion, there are still some things that felt somewhat open/unresolved. (view spoiler)[What really happened to Luc’s sick friend, Nadia? What happened to the kid Origins from Daedalus that Luc stowed away? Will Lothos and the Arum that helped defeat the invading Luxen play nicely or cause conflict for the remaining Luxen and humans? Will Hunter’s brothers ever get books of their own? (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This is definitely the best book of the series. I absolutely looooooved Dae5+ stars – Paranormal/Sci-Fi Romance
Holy alien babies!!!! A++mazeballs!!!!
This is definitely the best book of the series. I absolutely looooooved Daemon in this and getting his POV made the story more powerful. It has an awesome mix of emotionally intense drama, kick-ass action, horror, humor, suspense, and swoon-worthy romance. But damn...it’s also got another killer cliffhanger.
Kristen Ashley has without a doubt earned the best/most of everything for 2012 (addictive stories, unforgettable5 stars – Contemporary Erotic Romance
Kristen Ashley has without a doubt earned the best/most of everything for 2012 (addictive stories, unforgettable heroes, and moving epilogues) and is easily one of my all-time favorite authors. Her books completely beguile me every single time and this was certainly no exception. Never mind that I had boxes to unpack or a gazillion other things to do because Creed simply demanded my full attention...and boy howdy, he got it! I simply couldn’t put it down!
This actually started off a little bit rocky and I wasn’t quite sure what to think. But then around the 28% mark, everything started falling into place and I ended up loving it! Creed and Sylvie are both broken and battered with horribly tragic pasts, but they find healing and forgiveness through their resilient, enduring, and unconquerable love for each other. They’re memorable, unique characters, and I adored them together.
I loved Knight and Creed, and it’s hard to decide which I liked better. Both have compelling, strong, albeit very distinctive, heroes, and although related, they’re still very different books; so it’s probably best not to compare the two. Having said that, this definitely left me more emotionally satisfied than Knight, probably because there’s a definitive, more traditional, hard-won HEA.
Bottom line, Kristen Ashley is an author goddess and she’s once again made me a very happy romance reader! Big 5 stars!
The epilogue...of course. KA is the queen of heartwarming, mushy, gushy, and can’t-get-enough-of-it epilogues, and Creed left me smiling and wiping away tears.
Creed naming his kids (view spoiler)[with another woman the same names that he and Sylvie had planned on (hide spoiler)] made my heart break. Talk about a hot poker to the chest! His reasoning was awful, twisted, beautiful, and tragic, and although things eventually worked out, it was still hard to take.
After waiting so long for the flashback scene to reveal the moment that Sylvie (view spoiler)[finally lost her virginity to Creed (hide spoiler)], I was very disappointed that it faded to black.
I think it’s a bit misleading that this series falls in the Unfinished Hero series that’s described as erotic romances with anti-heroes because Creed is without a doubt an honorable man and a full-fledged hero, and it’s really not all that erotic.
Oh, but I really enjoyed this one! There are opposites attract stories and then there are opposites ignite, combust, and5 stars – Contemporary Romance
Oh, but I really enjoyed this one! There are opposites attract stories and then there are opposites ignite, combust, and singe my Kindle stories and this is definitely the latter. Whew!
And the premise is one of my favorites...seemingly stodgy, stuffy, rich, straitlaced Darcy-esque hero and free-spirited, quirky, flamboyant, provocative heroine clash, battle, and then inevitably end up lusting and scorching up the sheets...and pretty much any stable surface.
But Sarah Mayberry has penned an insightful, affecting story and given depth to Martin’s and Violet’s characters that dispels clichés and stereotypes. And talk about a swoonalicious, husband-worthy hero! I absolutely loved Martin! *sigh*
Her Best Worst Mistake is a sequel/spin-off of Hot Island Nights that takes place during the same time period, and I enjoyed this much more having read Hot Island Nights first.
It’s a sexy, fun, super steamy, and emotionally gratifying romance with a memorable H/h. 5 stars!
This is Kristen Ashley’s first venture into the “erotic” romance genre, and I loved it! Knight Sebring is a serio5 stars – Contemporary Erotic Romance
This is Kristen Ashley’s first venture into the “erotic” romance genre, and I loved it! Knight Sebring is a seriously sexy, magnetic, dark anti-hero and all kinds of yummy “Dom”ineering alpha hotness. Anya Gage is very likeable and genuine and one of my favorite KA heroines. I really enjoyed their captivating, intense connection, dynamic relationship, emotional progression, and explosive bedroom scenes! YOWZA!
Ms. Ashley took a gamble with this, and I imagine some readers/fans will be put off by certain aspects, like the BDSM (D/s) elements and Knight’s dark side. He’s definitely an enigmatic, powerful “anti-hero”, but that’s one of the things I loved most about it. And I’ve read quite a bit of erotic and BDSM romances, so for me, this is actually on the somewhat lite/mild side, but it’s still gratifyingly steamy!
Controversy and Quibbles:
1) Spank Me Daddy
Knight had Anya answer/call him “Daddy” instead of “Master” or “Sir” in their sex play, which usually sets off my ick factor alert, but it really didn’t bother me in this. Somehow Knight mastered it, and I actually found this “Daddy” more smokin’ hot than creepy. “Come to/for Daddy?” If/when it’s Knight Sebring demanding it? Oh Hell Yeah!
2) I’m No Mr. Nice Guy...aka...Knight’s Big Secret
(view spoiler)[Knight is a pimp. WTF?!?! But hey, he treats his stable of women much better than his smarmy predecessor and he once covered Anya with a blanket while she was napping, so it’s okay. *dramatic eye roll* It just didn’t seem right to me that he would continue to profit from the world’s oldest profession, despite his reasoning and assurances that his girls are well treated and protected, especially considering his mother’s tragic past as a prostitute and how it impacted him when he was a little boy. And not to mention the fact that he’s already filthy rich. (hide spoiler)]
3) HEA But Knight Isn’t Traditional
(view spoiler)[Knight wouldn’t “officially” marry Anya or give her his last name because it’s just not him (too white picket fence and traditional). Yet he gave her a ring and very reception-like party and was excited and enthusiastic about having kids. Hmmm...isn’t that a bit ironic? (hide spoiler)]
Overall, I’m a very satisfied Kristen Ashley fangirl and sincerely hope she pens more erotic romances! 5 stars!
Favorite Knight quotes:
“Wars fought over a face like this,” he murmured like he was talking to himself, my heart stopped beating and his thumbs moved lightly across my cheeks. “A man would work himself into the ground for it, go down to his knees to beg to keep it, endure torture to protect it, take a bullet for it,” his eyes came to mine, “poison his brother to possess a face like this.”
“And I wake up happy, baby, because I possess beauty and I own that beauty in all the forms it can take and the least important of those are physical.”
“Who’s Your Daddy?”
Knight’s Hot in a Suit, Sophisticated Style:
‘Cause every girl crazy ‘bout a Sharp Dressed Man!
I’ve been looking forward to Mike’s story and anxious for his HEA ever since he stole my heart when I read At Peace. G5+ stars – Contemporary Romance
I’ve been looking forward to Mike’s story and anxious for his HEA ever since he stole my heart when I read At Peace. Games of the Heart lived up to my high expectations and then some. It’s one of my (many) favorite Kristen Ashley reads. I loved it! I adored everything about it...the amazing hero and heroine, touching young love secondary romance, great ensemble cast of characters, emotional story, and gratifying epilogue.
Mike is such a swoon-worthy hero...he’s a caring, dedicated, and protective father and cop, a tough alpha male, and a commanding bad boy in the bedroom. Dusty is the perfect heroine...genuine, loving, strong, earthy, spirited, funny, and loyal. Mike and Dusty make a wonderful, solid couple, and their romance is compelling and heartfelt. But they nearly have the spotlight stolen by the beautiful, sweet teen romance between Dusty’s nephew, Finley “Fin”, and Mike’s daughter, Clarisse “Rees/Reesee”. There just aren’t enough words to describe how much I adored Fin. *sigh* He’s a far better man at seventeen than most could ever hope to be. Not to mention an unforgettable romantic hero in his own right.
So on that note, I’m finishing my review with a picture tribute to Fin. I love Garrett Hedlund and he’d make a yummy (older) Fin, but age wise I think Alex Pettyfer is a fitting casting choice.
Younger Alex Pettyfer as 17-year-old teen heartthrob Fin.
Alex Pettyfer as Fin seven years later when he’s finally about to (view spoiler)[marry his longtime sweetheart and true love Reesee in the epilogue. (hide spoiler)]
Garrett Hedlund is a great alternate for 24-year-old Fin.
“A Very Sinful Valentine” indeed! You are a master of eroticism, whether using you5 stars – Erotic Historical Romance Quickie/Freebie
“A Very Sinful Valentine” indeed! You are a master of eroticism, whether using your wicked tongue for scorching dirty talk and skillful fingers to pen naughty, sensual love notes or putting them to use for far more vigorous and...ahem...pleasurable pursuits. What an utterly rakish, licentious husband you are, and Jane is one lucky wife!
My deepest thanks for giving your fans a wonderful, passionate, poignant, and sinfully delicious glimpse into the married life of “Matty” and his beloved Jane, for this is truly a delectable little morsel that’s not to be missed! 5 stars!
There’s no possible way I can adequately express my feelings about this book or gush enough over how much I admire Kris5+ stars – Contemporary Romance
There’s no possible way I can adequately express my feelings about this book or gush enough over how much I admire Kristen Ashley’s writing brilliance. So I’ll keep things simple and just say that I loved, loved, loved this!
Ms. Ashley is the reigning queen of smokin’ hot, badass uber alpha heroes, addictive, sigh-worthy romance, and dreamy, gratifying epilogues, and Heaven and Hell is certainly no exception. It’s one of my very favorite KA reads to date! Huge, heavenly 5 stars!
Sam in all his sexy, swoonalicious glory:
Kia in casual glamour mode:
Kia lounging around Sam’s beach house in North Carolina:
Memphis going for a walk on the beach:
On a side note...I’ve been to Lake Como in Italy and it’s without a doubt one of the most beautiful, heavenly places I’ve seen. So I especially loved all the Lake Como scenes.
Lago di Como è bellissima!
This emotional, heartfelt scene pretty much sums up the book.
(view spoiler)[“You walked into that dining room, baby, and you know, the minute I saw you, I wanted to fuck you. Two days later, I saw you outside havin’ a drink and even before you looked at me with tears in your eyes, just when I saw you sittin’ there, I was annoyed, thought you were playin’ games, and I didn’t care. Just you sittin’ there I knew it was you.” He knew it was me. Me I closed my eyes. “Look at me,” Sam ordered quietly and I opened them. “Weeks after that, Kia, I saw you standing in my kitchen writing a grocery list, doing nothing, just writing a grocery list. But you’d just made me laugh and, just like you, you made me do it hard. That shit with Gordo, with Luci, losin’ Ben, Felicia tryin’ to off herself, that shit’s too much, it wears you down. I hadn’t laughed like that in months, not since Gordo died and in that moment, you in the kitchen, I realized I did it all the time with you. There were times before, a lot of them, I’d look at you and feel your pull, so strong. I wanted to fight it, deny it but I couldn’t, you wouldn’t let me and I didn’t get it. But seein’ you standing in my kitchen, effortlessly beautiful, writing a fuckin’ grocery list after you made me laugh like that, I knew what it was. I got it. I knew it was more. I knew that wasn’t an offer. That was a promise. Even with all the shit goin’ down with you, shit that would wear any other woman down, it didn’t with you and you gave me that from the beginning. And it hit me then that was what my life would be like if I lived the whole of it with you. And I knew I couldn’t live without you.” Oh. My. God. He couldn’t live without me. His face got close. “You cannot leave me. You can’t. I can’t live without you.” He couldn’t live without me. He was in hell, just like me. And just like he did for me, I showed him heaven.(hide spoiler)]
My favorite badass alpha, yowza dirty talkin’ Sam quote:
**********explicit language and spoiler warning**********
(view spoiler)[“Kia, eyes on me,” Sam ordered gently and my eyes slid back to him to see he wasn’t smiling anymore and there was no trace of hilarity. He was focused, intent and serious but all of that in a tender way that made something important shift inside of me. “Makin’ you melt for me then makin’ you light up for me, listening to you get excited, feeling it, tasting it, eating it.” His words made me shiver and it helped that his hand was gliding up my back, my neck and into my hair then he pulled my head down so my face was an inch from his and he continued on a whisper, “Feelin’ you come against my mouth, watchin’ you drive yourself down on my dick, listening to you moan as your pussy clenched around my cock when you came, baby, yeah, that was all okay, that was all better than fuckin’ okay. It was fuckin’ beautiful.”(hide spoiler)]
GAWD I loved this book so much! There are many things that make this a great read but the reasons can be easily summari5+ stars – Contemporary Romance
GAWD I loved this book so much! There are many things that make this a great read but the reasons can be easily summarized in three words repeated over and over again: Detective Mitch Lawson. A Law Man and Dream Man extraordinaire, he is without a doubt my favorite Kristen Ashley alpha hero and one of the most swoonalicious, studtastic, heart thud inducing, and sigh-worthy heroes in Romancelandia. Seriously, Mitch is yummy husband hero material and utterly amazing in every single way and then some.
I’ll be honest that I wanted to smack Mara silly for about the first 30+% of the book. Her constant judging and referring to people in terms of their zone number...“they’re a 7.5, I’m a 2.5, and he’s a 10.5”...really annoyed me. There were times when I wondered, why doesn’t Mitch ever let Mara talk or even finish a freaking sentence? (This is a common behavior with all of Kristen Ashley’s alpha heroes.) But then I was like, oh wait, maybe it’s because all she ever says is “uh...”, “um...”, “pardon me?”, and “sorry?”! And I found myself agreeing with Mitch’s harsh assessment that Mara seriously needed to (view spoiler)[get her head out of her ass (hide spoiler)]. But once Mara’s past was revealed and her batsh*t crazy relatives came calling; I understood and liked her much better. And I was so proud of her along with Mitch when she finally recognized her own self worth, found some backbone, and stood up for herself and her kids.
That brings me to another main reason I loved this book so much, which is the adorable, heartstring-tugging kids, Billy/Bud and Billie, and the cute, sweet, and emotional moments between them, Mara, and Mitch. There were several poignant scenes that choked me up and had tears streaming down my cheeks and others that brought a big smile to my face.
Like all of the previous Kristen Ashley books that I’ve read, this grabbed me from the very beginning, kept me engaged throughout, and had me anxiously yearning for a HEA finale. And once again, like all of KA’s stories, I was sad for it to end and grateful for the beautiful, touching epilogue that is in and of itself worthy of 5+ stars. (view spoiler)[The scene in the epilogue where Bud pounds a fist over his heart while staring meaningfully at Mitch on his way to the baseball dugout had me gulping back sobs. (hide spoiler)]
And the romance? Oh yeah! It’s intense, sexy, and smokin’ hot! Law Man is another Kristen Ashley winner! Big 5 stars!
Josh Duhamel is my Detective Mitch Lawson, and he definitely has the soulful brown eyes. *sigh*