Stacia (the 2010 club)'s Reviews > At Peace

At Peace by Kristen Ashley
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bookshelves: adult, contemporary-romance, slow-as-molasses, suspense-or-thriller
Recommended to Stacia (the 2010 club) by: Buddy read with Sea and all of the AA peeps

Dear Goodreads Friends,

I'm sorry to have to go against the trend here, but I can't seem to wrap my mind around a 1,000 plus page contemporary romance book. Someone please come let me know if Ms. Ashley ever decides to write one in about half of the space and I might be willing to check it out. Thanks.

Your Exasperated Friend,

I do think there was a good story buried among the rubble of excess character description, shopping scenes, and the home and garden report. However, my patience isn't up for reading page after page of gossip about who is who at the BBQ, what Mike's house looks like on the inside, and how much care and attention Vi put into her backyard. When a 'random' scene having nothing to do with the actual story drags on for pages, my eyes start to glaze over.

This is contemporary romance (w/a side of suspense) - not the type of story which requires a lengthy word count, such as a high fantasy or historical fiction might in some instances.

What I did like about this story :

~ The Characters. I didn't struggle with Joe or Vi the way that some other people did. I didn't care that Vi hooked up with more than one man (guys do it all the time, after all...turnabout is fair play). The daughters were cute and fun to read about, although somewhat unrealistic sounding. I'm around teens constantly, and none of them sound like these girls.

~ The Chemistry. Joe and Vi had great chemistry and the sex was enjoyable to read. Almost all of the scenes involving Joe and Vi or Joe with the family were worth reading.

I am always a sucker for men who want to own their women in the bedroom : He ground his cock in deep and demanded, "Who do you belong to?"

~ The "scales" storyline. All of the dialogue involving the scales and weights was endearing and heartwarming.

What I didn't like about this story :

~ Mike's part in all of this. I have seen this pattern before with KA books. One of the heroes falls for the leading lady and she rejects him, so he gets a chance for his own book later. Eh...I find this method unnecessary. There are other ways to introduce a future character. Let him be the lonely neighbor who is closed off to the world, so we're all curious to know more about who he is.

~ Editing issues. This is nothing new. FFS, passed and past do not mean the same thing.

~ As mentioned before - it was too long. I would also mention that there are too many characters. If we're introducing characters for future books, then it's probably better that we meet one or two at a time in each book, not 10 (or so) of them in one book.

~ The obligatory love/drug reference. As if I'd miss this in any book. Shit, he was like a drug and I realized I'd been jonesing for him all day.

~ The obligatory nicknames. Does every single book need to have nicknames? Is this a trademark? If so, can we get something other than BUDDY?!? Really...BUDDY?!? If some guy called me that, I'd hurt him. This ties with Daddy for being on the list of worst nicknames ever.

~ Other than the Italian family, everyone sounded the same. Again, another recurring issue with KA books. In real life, not all men sound the same, not even if they're all alpha. So why does every man (and even an occasional woman) in these books (from various ethnic/cultural backgrounds and locations) sound like they all grew up in the same 2 block radius?

Case in Point :

Joe - "I'm not leavin' for two weeks not gettin' my fill of you."

"Buddy, you want me fuckin' you with your girls in the house then you stay home. You don't, I hear your feet on the steps of my deck."

"Split you in two, I fuck you harder."

Mike - "You're comin' to my house. I'm makin' you dinner."

Sam - "I'd hate to see you sittin' there, glarin' at me while I'm eatin' it. Shit's fuckin' ambrosia."

Tina - "Know you walked out Cal's backdoor wearin' his shirt. Know you're stringing' along a good man like Mike. Know that's fucked."

This author has the ability to deliver on great characters and story, if only she'd mix it up more with each book. I'd love to see some beta males, or at least an alpha who isn't the same controlling (yet lovable) jackass. If she could figure out how to make each book stand alone as something completely unique from the last book and work on possibly condensing and editing, then I really do think we might be looking at something great. I'm hoping that someday I'll find the KA book which truly works for me. I'd love to be able to give one of her books a rating higher than 3 stars because I see what could be. We're just not there yet.

I had officially decided to take a break from KA books after Motorcycle Man, but this was a buddy read that I was talked into by a good friend who I simply couldn't say no to. I'm not sorry that I read the book because I did enjoy it in parts, even with my complaints. However, this will be my "official" time now to break from this author for a good, long while. You might see me read another KA book someday, when my memory is at least slightly fuzzy from my last read, so I'm not comparing details too closely in my head.

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Reading Progress

October 4, 2012 – Started Reading
October 4, 2012 – Shelved
October 10, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 73 (73 new)

Amanda (.---.--.-...-) I was thinking about starting this soon. Maybe I'll start tonight.

Stacia (the 2010 club) If you do, you know I'll be up for chatting about it. :)

message 3: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian In a world gone mad, the voice of reason...Stacia. I'm so looking forward to your updates.

Amanda (.---.--.-...-) Skates ~ have you heard the song by Neon Trees, Everybody Talks?

Stacia (the 2010 club) No, but now I want to know why you've asked.

Amanda (.---.--.-...-) Well, bc this song gets stuck in my head and it pretty much uses the love/drug reference throughout the whole thing. It makes me think of you and your reviews.

Stacia (the 2010 club) I'll have to watch that in a sec after I finish the email I'm working on.

There WAS already a love/drug reference in this book. I laughed for at least a minute.

Stacia (the 2010 club) Ian wrote: "In a world gone mad, the voice of reason...Stacia. I'm so looking forward to your updates."

I'm pretty sure that I'm the one gone mad in a world of reason, but I like your take on it better.

Amanda (.---.--.-...-) LOL. Man, I'm good. ;)

message 10: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian I kind of like the idea that your updates are only available with a prescription.

message 11: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian How far in are you? I'm still at Ch. 3 and won't get any further until after 11pm tonight. I have to be a punching bag tonight.

I hope I didn't miss the love drug reference in my efforts to catch every single use of the word c_ck and c_nt.

message 12: by Leea (new) - rated it 5 stars

Leea What do you think so far? I'm shocked you picked up another KA book. I just finished this are really liked it.

message 13: by Stacia (the 2010 club) (last edited Oct 04, 2012 02:48PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Stacia (the 2010 club) Ian, I have the phrase highlighted, so I'll try to pull up where it was at later. I know you were trying to be funny about the body parts comment but I have to ask if you are reading on an ereader? If so, you can actually highlight a word and search for how many times it shows up in the book. It can be surprising when you look at the actual numbers.

Right now, I'm just shy of the 25% mark, but I won't be going back to this one until tomorrow because I plan on finishing up my buddy read with Michelle tonight.

Leaa, I will say that this isn't the worst KA book that I've read (so far). Other than the guy sounding like yet another clone of every other KA guy, the story itself is quite decent when we're not slogging through lots of extra details about side characters and random things that have nothing to do with the plot itself. With a good editor and at least 15-20% of each book cut out, these books could be taken to a whole 'nother level.

message 14: by Leea (new) - rated it 5 stars

Leea I know you don't like those "extra details." I tend to not think of them as extra but I understand that without them her books might hit more of a mainstream audience.

Stacia (the 2010 club) I think she wants to introduce every character in the series right off the bat, possibly? I think it might work better if you met the characters for book 2 in the first book, then book 3 in the second book, or something like that. The BBQ scene where (not a spoiler) it mentioned details about every single person there had me skimming. I figure if I need to know those details and they show up in another book, I figure it out then, haha.

message 16: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian I've only read one other KA book but I've heard some people talk about the epilogues...and how much they love them.
I personally thought the epilogue in Motorcycle Man was a killer. It's kind of like when you finish a video game but can still wander around the video game world...that's what I was thinking while I was reading the epilogue to Motorcycle Man.

message 17: by Leea (new) - rated it 5 stars

Leea Yeah, there were a lot of people at the BBQ and several you had met in book 1 (You didn't read that right?).

I really enjoy her details with the characters emotions and the reasons behind them. I hop you like this one! Did you end up reading Breathe yet? That might be my favorite KA book.

Amanda (.---.--.-...-) What do you think so far? I started last night and instantly spotted the love/drug reference at the 7% mark.

Stacia (the 2010 club) I'm not hating this one so far. It's actually been entertaining.

The love/drug reference is always something that will make me twitch though.

I really don't like how KA writes women though. So many of them come off as shallow. The comment about all women wanting designer handbags really bugged me. I'm happy getting a cheap purse at a discount store if it's cute. I don't need to spend a thousand bucks to get a brand name label.

Stacia (the 2010 club) Seriously. If some guy called me that, I'd hurt him.

Amanda (.---.--.-...-) So far, I think I liked book 1 better. Joe says too few words for me, I think, and buddy takes up 75% of them.

Stacia (the 2010 club) I'm halfway in (not sure where I got 60% from earlier) and struggling with even wanting to continue. This book is so long and nothing's really happening.

Amanda (.---.--.-...-) It was long and that is what I was talking about with he dormant villain. I finished but it took me longer than usual.

message 25: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian 25% me...and it's too long. The think I don't like is the way she describes everything that someone she could just say, 'he pushed her up against a wall and kissed her', but what she says is, 'he put his hand at the back of her neck, with his other hand on her hip and with one of his legs hooked behind blah blah blah"

You're kind of left there trying to work out what they're doing and it doesn't really matter.

Stacia (the 2010 club) These books are all CRAZY long. You are so right about the descriptions, Ian. I am not joking when I say that I highlighted an entire page where nothing happened except for Vi describing her landscaping.

I'm this close to saying fuck it and quitting. It's not that the story is bad, it's just that too much extra stuff that means jack is being sandwiched in-between the actual story.

message 27: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Stacia (Ace of Skates) wrote: "These books are all CRAZY long.."

lol....I just read 10 pages that could have been said in paragraph. I'm liking the story but all the other stuff is driving me insane!!!!

message 28: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Mike showing Vi his house was torture.

Amanda (.---.--.-...-) You two, Skates and Ian, are correct. I remember both of those "scenes" and wasn't interested in her garden or the intricacies of Mike's home. And yes, after reading it at least three times, I'm aware that Mike has a 6 thousand dollar bed. Am I supposed to be impressed? And don't worry, I think the action finally picked up around 85% or so.

Ian, did you finish?

I liked For You more, I think, but I am confused how there is a series where all this crazy shit goes on in one little suburb. Is that just me?

message 30: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Not finished yet...I'm at around 60% on Kindle. It's starting to suck me in if I skip a page or two of the inconsequential stuff it's actually very good.

message 31: by Stacia (the 2010 club) (last edited Oct 08, 2012 01:26PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Stacia (the 2010 club) Isn't that how most series are though? A bunch of crazy stuff happens within a small little world.

A 6 thousand dollar bed? Please. The guy in the first i-team book built his own bed. That's more impressive. :p I actually don't like this new trend with extremely rich men and billionaires being the hero in books and I'm not using KA as an example because she doesn't write a bunch of rich men; I'm just going with contemporary romance in general. A man should be appealing on his own merit, whether he has money or not. If he has money, that's fine, but I don't like it when the money almost becomes its own character in the book, used to show off fancy items and properties that the lead character owns.

A romance novel can be just as romantic if the guy makes his own sandwiches and takes the girl on a picnic. He doesn't need to usher her into a private jet and take her to Hawaii.

Ian, I agree about the house showing. It's obvious that Vi and Mike aren't going to hook up, so we don't need to know everything about him right now anyway. He has his own book in the series for that (although I doubt I'll read it).

Stacia (the 2010 club) Ian wrote: "Not finished yet...I'm at around 60% on Kindle. It's starting to suck me in if I skip a page or two of the inconsequential stuff it's actually very good."

You posted when I was typing out my last reply. Sea says that it's going to get better, so I'm trying to hold out and see it happen.

Amanda (.---.--.-...-) What do you think now? Did this book have an epilogue? I mean, it was long enough without one, but I don't remember it having one.

Anna (Bobs Her Hair) Where are you at? How's it going? Inquiring minds want to know! ;o)

Stacia (the 2010 club) I'm finished and exhausted. Sigh.

message 36: by Sara (new)

Sara Jeez..My first and only KA book was a little while ago 'Wildest Dreams' and I almost DNF'd it...I have this on my TBR as well but I seriously got scared off by that one book, and hearing that the others (even in her other series) are written the same way.

message 37: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Espinoza Haha! The thing I find amazing about KA is that they are soooooo long and descriptive, but she seems to have the ability to crank them out at a marathon pace. Seriously, every time I turn around, there is another new one! It's all good though, I enjoyed the first couple of these that I read and then they got to e a bit redundant. However, every once in a while, I'll still pick another one up.

message 38: by Stacia (the 2010 club) (last edited Oct 10, 2012 11:08PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Stacia (the 2010 club) I'm not sure if you remember when I mentioned how just about every book in the Dream Man series had a kidnapping. There are kidnap plots in this series too.

Redundancy = check.

I really do think that KA has the ability to write good chemistry and likable characters but something in me rebels against awarding a high rating when I feel like I've read parts of the story before in other books. Apparently, the issue is with me because most people don't seem to mind.

Sara, I haven't read that one. What made you almost DNF?

message 39: by Sara (new)

Sara EEK, Ho boy, cool...I will forever cringe when I hear these words.There was a lot I didn't like. Check my review for a full report lol and I still left out some stuff because the negatives were just too many compared to the was tiring trying to write them all out. I did give it a 2.5 in the end bc it got better but...I'm a bit traumatized, just thinking about this book bothers me. Ah the super long descriptions of nothing and everything...

Stacia (the 2010 club) Sounds like how I felt about Mystery Man. That one was rough for me.

message 41: by Sara (new)

Sara I bought 'Wildest Dreams' and a few other KA books at the same time so I'll read them eventually, but like you I need time-time to forget before I can read another ;)

message 42: by Kristin (KC) - Traveling Sister (last edited Oct 10, 2012 11:54PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kristin (KC) - Traveling Sister Awesome review! I feel the same way with KA's books. I try to jump on the bandwagon, but I never really enjoy the ride. I end up skimming in the end and then silently congratulate myself for completing what felt like a whole trilogy of random thoughts sprinkled over hot sex. I did enjoy the premise of this story, as well as the characters...but you're right-- they are in serious need of their own identities...great examples. :)

message 43: by Stacia (the 2010 club) (last edited Oct 11, 2012 12:01AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Stacia (the 2010 club) Thanks Kris. At least I don't feel quite as alone anymore. It's a lonely island not being in the 'love' club. I'm in the 'sometimes like' club.

message 44: by Anna (new)

Anna Stacia, I recommend you read Lisa Kleypas' Travis series. It's one of my top favorite adult contemporary series. It's very good. :)

Kristin (KC) - Traveling Sister Stacia (Ace of Skates) wrote: "Thanks Kris. At least I don't feel quite as alone anymore. It's a lonely island not being in the 'love' club. I'm in the 'sometimes like' club."

Haha, well, now you have some company ;)

Stacia (the 2010 club) Anna wrote: "Stacia, I recommend you read Lisa Kleypas' Travis series. It's one of my top favorite adult contemporary series. It's very good. :)"

I LOVE Kleypas' historicals and it's crazy that I haven't cracked open one of her contemps yet. I guess I'm afraid that everything I love about her historicals will somehow disappear with her contemporaries. Not sure why.

message 47: by Searock (last edited Oct 11, 2012 12:11AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Searock I missed all of these comments somehow (my head was likely in the clouds). Awesome review, my friend. Thanks for taking a chance on my fave book. I loved everything you said, btw. Your "voice of reason" rep is still intact. As for me, I love the deets, so...
*trying to add a Sir Mix Alot reference here, but failing miserably (ie, if her details were beans and rice, they wouldn't miss me? I'd have a big ol' KA- fed butt?) smh at the pathetic*

Ian's comments about Mike's house tour made me laugh and reminded me of how my hubs feels about window shopping (wtf is the point of this?).

I'll try not to take advantage of your inability to say no to me...

ETA: All the stuff I loved about LK historicals DID disappear in her contemps. Not sure if I would have felt that way had I read them first. It's the question of firsts that Stacia has mentioned/wondered about before too.

Stacia (the 2010 club) You're allowed to drag me into buddy reads. I forced you to read How to Kill a Rock Star, so it's only fair.

message 49: by Searock (last edited Oct 11, 2012 12:12AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Searock Soooooooo not the same cuz that was some awesome shiz you dragged me into :)

message 50: by Anna (new)

Anna She's great with the contemporary as she was with her historical. I'm not sure with her Friday Harbor though but the Travis was really freaking awesome. Hope you get some time to read it. :)

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