It’s been a while since I’ve read such an imaginative paranormal romance. Bec McMaster has penned a noteworthy...more4 ½ stars – Paranormal Romance/Steampunk
It’s been a while since I’ve read such an imaginative paranormal romance. Bec McMaster has penned a noteworthy debut that’s bold, inventive, engrossing, and sensual. I really enjoyed this!
McMaster has crafted an intricate, alternate London set historical with memorable, complex characters and unique elements of paranormal, steampunk, vampires, and verwulfen blended seamlessly without excessive world building to bog down the pacing or impede the romance. The dark, eerie Whitechapel setting gives the story an authentic gothic resonance and provides lots of danger, intrigue, thrills, and chills.
Blade, “the devil of Whitechapel”, is a captivating, sexy hero with a fascinating mix of tortured soul and primal alpha male who’s at times brutal yet intimately tender and protective of those he cares about. He’s rough, growly, ruthless, and possessive, has a caring heart of gold, and yearns for affection, trust, and peace. Blade reminded me a little of Charming Mickey from Elizabeth Hoyt’s Scandalous Desires at times but with more of a predator, supernatural edge and a somewhat softer, gooier center. In other words...YOWZA!
Honoria Todd is a strong, brave heroine and I both admired and wanted to strangle her at times for being so stubborn, proud, and loyal to a fault. It drove me crazy that she continually resisted and rebuffed Blade, no matter what he did or how hard he tried. Blade and Honoria engage in quite a bit of bickering, sparring, and bantering and have some seriously explosive chemistry. And when she finally comes to her senses I nearly screamed...well, it’s about time!
Kiss of Steel is a terrific, original debut that’s dark, passionate, intense, emotional, and satisfyingly steamy. I’m looking forward to the next book, Heart of Iron.
Kristen Ashley has without a doubt earned the best/most of everything for 2012 (addictive stories, unforgettable...more5 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.
This is Kristen Ashley’s first venture into the “erotic” romance genre, and I loved it! Knight Sebring is a serio...more5 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!
If I rated this based on the heroine it would get 1 star because Ava topped the annoying b*t...more4 stars – Chick lit/Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense
If I rated this based on the heroine it would get 1 star because Ava topped the annoying b*tchometer until around the 65% mark and even after that was still ungrateful and somewhat irritating. Without a doubt, yummalicious, handcuff wielding, uber alpha badass Luke Stark made and saved this book.
Peace Out and Rock On!
*****Edited from original rating/review*****
I bumped this from a somewhat lackluster 4 stars to a stronger, more solid 4+ after finishing Rock Chick Regret, loving the series, and eventually growing to like Ava. Besides, Luke Stark is one of the most badass, studtastic members of the Hot Bunch!
There’s no possible way I can adequately express my feelings about this book or gush enough over how much I admire Kris...more5+ 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)]