Series: Unfinished Hero

Review: Sebring by Kristen Ashley

Posted October 23, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Sebring by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Sebring by Kristen Ashley
Series: Unfinished Hero #5
Also in this series: Knight, Creed, Raid, Deacon
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 11, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First & Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 446
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Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
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five-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Nick Sebring has issues. Born feeling like an outsider in his own family, growing up under the shadow of a brother who could do anything, Nick isn’t that great of a guy. But when this culminates with Nick lashing out to hurt his brother through the woman he loves, Nick turns inward and makes some decisions about the man he intends to be.

And as he does this, he falls in love and truly learns the man that he’s grown to be.

When his love is murdered right before Nick’s eyes, Nick knows he has to avenge her. He knows how he’s going to avenge her. And he has no qualms using Olivia Shade to exact that vengeance.

Olivia Shade has grown up on the outside of her family too. Her problem is that they don’t want her outside. They want her all the way in, right under their thumbs. She pays the price for seeking escape and learns her lesson—she’ll never see a dawn where she wakes up free.
Then she meets Nick Sebring, and even as she fights it, the hope that died years ago starts to blossom. She can find love. She can have a man of her own. She can be happy. She can be free.

Olivia hopes while Nick schemes.

However, as Nick peels back the layers of all that is Olivia Shade, he finds something surprising. He understands its fragility. He falls in love with its beauty. He seeks to protect it.

But he forgets to protect his Livvie from one thing: Nick Sebring.

You know how you feel when you read a freaking amazing book? Sebring is that for me, which makes it really difficult to review. I really want everyone to read this book, but you have to read the entire series to understand Nick’s journey. I didn’t have extremely high hopes for this book because Nick Sebring wasn’t exactly a lovable character in the previous books. He was a total ass. I should have had faith in Kristen Ashley. By the time I was done with this book, I absolutely adored Nick and Olivia. It’s one of those books that I thought about for days after finishing it.

Nick always felt like he grew up in the shadow of his older brother, Knight. After Nick intentionally hurts Knight’s woman, Nick starts to realize what he has become and he doesn’t like who he has become. Because Nick is so hated by his family, it was easy for the FBI to recruit him to be their confidential informant. The FBI, with Nick’s help, is trying to take down the Shade Empire. When everything comes to a head, the woman Nick loves is shot in the head right in front of him. Nick vows revenge on the Shade family and will do anything to get it. Even pretending to be interested in Olivia Shade.

Olivia knows her family is bad, but she truly didn’t understand how evil they were until Nick came into her life. There are few things that Olivia has that are her own, but Nick becomes hers. It’s well known that Nick worked with the FBI, so when Olivia’s family finds out she’s involved with Nick the shit hits the fan. Olivia knows it can’t last with Nick, but she’s going to have something that’s her very own, separate from her crazy family.

Olivia always thought Nick was too good to be true. It turns out she was right. Nick is there to spy on the Shade family and he’s pretending to love Olivia to do it. While it did start that way, Nick fell in love with Olivia. She’s the complete opposite of her father and her sister. She doesn’t want to be in the drug business yet she can’t escape them. Olivia thought that Nick was her chance to get out, but she soon learns what he is really doing in her life.

Nick will not give up on Olivia. He never thought he could love anyone else, let alone a Shade. While getting to know her, Nick realizes how different from her family that she really is. He swears to get her out of that life and away from her family. Then she finds out the truth about him and Nick has a fight on his hands trying to convince Olivia that his feelings for her were true. I just couldn’t get enough of this book and these two characters. They are both so broken.

“Because I’m the man who’s gonna eat taco extravaganza, whatever the fuck that is, just because you made it. I’m also the man who’s gonna put the effort into making you come for me after, more than once, even though it’s highly likely taco extravaganza is gonna sit in my gut like an anvil. And I’m also the man who knows every day I wake up you mean more to me than you did the day before. And I’m the man who knew meant a fuckuva lot to me yesterday, so you meaning more today means everything. And I’m the man who’s got two priority missions. To get you free of a life you hate and to get you to a place you smile, frequently and easily.”

How can you not fall in love with Nick Sebring? If you read this book and you don’t love it, well, that worries me.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Unfinished Hero

five-stars


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Review: Deacon by Kristen Ashley

Posted September 25, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Deacon by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Deacon by Kristen Ashley
Series: Unfinished Hero #4
Also in this series: Knight, Creed, Raid, Sebring
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 216
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Deacon has an ugly history, a history that broke him, leaving him a ghost of a man. Out of necessity, he left the normal world to descend into the criminal world and found he fit. So he stayed. Cold as ice and living off the grid, Deacon has no intention to connect, not with anyone.
Then he returns to some remote cabins in the Colorado Mountains and finds they have new owners. One of them is Cassidy Swallow, a young woman willing to work hard to live her quiet dream in a house by a river surrounded by aspen and pine.
Suddenly, Deacon finds he’s at war. Cassidy’s pull for him to connect is strong. He fights it, but he loses, always coming back for more. But when he does, he gives her nothing.
From the first time she sees him, Cassidy knows Deacon is dead inside. She knows he’s the kind of man who could destroy a woman. But one night when Deacon’s control slips, Cassidy takes a chance.
He might break her. He also might be her dream come true.

Deacon is book number four in KA’s Unfinished Hero series. It’s actually my least favorite book of the series, but I still liked it a lot.

Cassidy left her family for the woods of Colorado where she plans to open a cabin resort. She moved there with her then-boyfriend, hoping to build a life with him. Unfortunately for Cassidy her boyfriend turned out to be a real loser and she eventually kicked him to the curb. She first meets John Priest (Deacon) when he comes to rent one of her cabins. For over five years the two have danced around each other, only seeing each other a few times a year. Everything comes to a head when Cassidy brings Deacon a pie. Yes, you read that correctly.

Deacon has secrets. Secrets that he doesn’t want Cassidy to know. Deacon is darkness and Cassidy is light. He used to be a normal guy with a normal life. His wife was an ex-addict. When his wife disappeared, Deacon had to go into the underworld (for lack of a better term) to find her. What he found changed the course of his life and made him who he is today. Not many people can navigate the world he lives in without getting killed.

I really enjoyed the progression of the relationship between Deacon and Cassidy. They knew each other for years even if they really didn’t know each other. They spent time together before they were lovers. It made the whole story believable. And while it’s not my favorite book in the series, I did enjoy it.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

Unfinished Hero

four-stars


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Review: Raid by Kristen Ashley

Posted September 23, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Raid by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Raid by Kristen Ashley
Series: Unfinished Hero #3
Also in this series: Knight, Creed, Deacon, Sebring
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 28, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 274
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Hanna Boudreaux has lived in the small town of Willow, Colorado all her life. The great-granddaughter of the town matriarch, she's sweet, cute and quiet.
Too quiet.
Hanna has a moment of epiphany when she realizes her crush for forever, Raiden Ulysses Miller, is not ever going to be hers. She sees her life as narrow and decides to do something about it.
Raiden Miller is the town of Willow's local hero. An ex-marine with the medal to prove his hero status, he comes home, shrouded in mystery. It takes a while but, eventually, Hanna catches his eye.
But after all these years of Raid and Hanna living in the same town, the question is, why? Is Raid interested in Hanna because she's sweet and cute? Or does Raid have something else going on?

I just adore this series. Sure, it’s unconventional but I can’t stop reading these books.

Raiden Miller is a former marine that is back in his hometown in Colorado to bring down a very powerful drug dealer. His investigation leads him straight to Hanna Boudreaux. Hanna seems innocent, but Raiden has to make sure before he crosses her off his list. See, the drugs are being mailed through Hanna’s business. It doesn’t take Raiden a minute to figure out that Hanna has nothing to do with drugs. She’s an innocent that was taken advantage of by people that she trusted. Raiden is instantly protective of Hanna. It’s hard not to be because she sees the world through rose colored glasses.

Hanna has loved Raiden from afar for years. When he actually notices her, she’s not quite sure what to do. Then she finds out why he approached her. It’s not for herself, that’s for certain. Or that’s what she tells herself. Hanna soon discovers that Raiden wants her and he’s not going to leave her alone until she gives in. Giving in to Raiden isn’t hard for her. While she’s loved him for years, she never really knew him. All she knew him as was the town hero. Hanna had a bit of hero worship for Raiden, but now she’s getting to know the real man. She likes what she sees.

I really liked Hanna. I read some reviews and I know Holly some people didn’t like Hanna. I didn’t really care for her at first either. Her unrequited love for Raiden was a total turn off. Eventually her character got better and I really ended up liking her. I loved that she made afghans for a living. I loved how scatterbrained she was. I loved her relationship with her great grandmother. I also loved how Raiden just fit seamlessly into her life.

This is my favorite quote from the book. Raiden was telling Hanna about being in the military and that she was his reward for risking his life.

“You might think that’s jacked, but it’s not. It’s the goddamn fuckin’ truth. Whether you got that in your bed before you go or hope to find it when you get back, that’s why you do it. You do it for her. You do it to keep her safe. You planted kids inside her, or you hope to, you do it for them. You get home in one piece, she’s your reward.” His body pressed into mine and his face, partly shadowed, came within an inch of mine. “You’re my reward, Hanna.”

This is my third favorite book in the series. Raiden and Hanna’s story was a pleasure to read. I was left wanting more at the end, which is exactly Kristen Ashley is good at.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Unfinished Hero

four-stars


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Review: Creed by Kristen Ashley

Posted September 4, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Creed by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Creed by Kristen Ashley
Series: Unfinished Hero #2
Also in this series: Knight, Raid, Deacon, Sebring
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 15, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 360
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Way too young, eleven year old Tucker Creed and his six year old neighbor, Sylvie Bissenette, find they have something awful in common. Creed then decides he’s going to do everything in his limited power to shield his Sylvie from her ordeal. So he does and Creed and Sylvie form a bond that grows and blossoms with their ages.
They plot to leave their lives behind, the town they live in that will hold them down and the histories they share that, unless they break free, will bury them. Sylvie goes to their special place, Creed never shows and she doesn’t see him again until it’s too late.
With Creed gone, Sylvie is forced to endure a nightmare and do the unspeakable to end it. To deal, she develops a hard shell with sharp edges that very few can break through. So when Creed again finds his Sylvie, he discovers the girl he loved is locked away and he has to find his way back into her heart without getting shredded in the process.

Creed is book two in Ashley’s Unfinished Hero series.

“Born to love you, baby… Die lovin’ you, my Sylvie.”

Tucker Creed never expected that Sylvie Bissenette would come back into his life. When he is reunited with her, Sylvie is not the girl that he remembers. He knows she’s changed and he also knows that it’s his fault. Creed and Sylvie have known each other since they were kids. Brought together by violence that touched both of their lives, they made a pact to leave their town behind as soon as Sylvie turns eighteen. Then something terrible happens and Creed is forced to leave Sylvie behind, never knowing that by trying to protect her, he was actually going to be responsible for one of the worst atrocities against her.

Sylvie is a survivor. She survived when Creed broke his promise to take her away from their town. She survived when her father sold her to the town pimp. She survived being pimped out. Then she survived by killing her pimp in self-defense. Now she works for Knight Sebring. Sylvie knows what Knight does and why he does it. Her job is to protect the girls. When someone roughs up one of Knight’s girls, Sylvie is the one that takes care of it.

Through Knight, Sylvie and Creed are thrown back into each others lives. Creed doesn’t recognize the woman that his Sylvie has become. Sylvie doesn’t give two craps about what Creed thinks. He broke his promise to her all those years ago and then disappeared from her life.

To be honest, I didn’t love this book at first. I felt that Sylvie was overbearing and trying too hard to be a man. The flashbacks were a nice touch. They really told of Sylvie’s journey from an innocent six year old girl to a brokenhearted eighteen year old girl to where she is now. That’s the Sylvie that I fell in love with. As with most Ashley books, there is a lot of filler here, but I really enjoyed it. The conflict in their relationship was resolved quite quickly so there were a lot of pages to fill. I devoured this book and ended up really liking it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Unfinished Hero

four-stars


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Review: Knight by Kristen Ashley

Posted September 2, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Knight by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Knight by Kristen Ashley
Series: Unfinished Hero #1
Also in this series: Creed, Raid, Deacon, Sebring
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 15, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First Person
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Erotica
Pages: 280
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Anya Gage has learned that to get anything good in life, you have to work for it. She has no expectations, no dreams.
Then she finds herself at a party where she doesn’t want to be and she meets Knight.
Knight Sebring knows who he is, what he wants and what he likes. And he gets it. But he never expected something as sweet as Anya Gage to wander into his bedroom during a party he did not expect to be having to borrow his phone.
Knight tries to leave Anya to the life she deserves of white picket fences and a man who watches football on Sundays – good, normal and clean. But when Anya comes to his nightclub and finds herself in a situation, he knows someone has to look after her, he can’t fight it anymore and he decides that man will be him.
Knight teaches Anya that, just as with the bad, in life you should also expect the good. And he teaches her this by giving it to her.
But Knight has a dark past and just as he desires Anya for exactly who she is, he fears when she finds out exactly the man he has become and always intends to be, she’ll leave him for good, normal and clean.

I loved this book when I didn’t really expect to. How could I not love it?

“Wars fought over a face like this. 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. Poison his brother to possess a face like this.”

When Anya Gage is invited to a party with a friend, she tags along not knowing that her entire world is about to be turned upside down. Finding that the party is not for her, Anya goes searching for her coat. In Knight Sebring’s room. Sheltered she may be, even Anya knows Knight Sebring. He runs the hottest club in town. Even she had been there. Knowing all she knows about Knight (which isn’t much), she’s hardly prepared for her first meeting with him. Or each subsequent meeting.

Knight can’t believe his brother would throw a party at his place without clearing it with him first. Then he believes it because his brother is a total loser. He doesn’t expect to run into someone as young and fresh as Anya. Knight can see immediately that she’s innocent, something that definitely calls to him. Still, the innocent and Knight don’t go together very well.

From their first meeting, Knight and Anya are fire. Their attraction is pretty much instantaneous. Knight is the kind of person that takes what he wants. What he wants is Anya, in his bed and in his life. But he knows that she’s too good for him. She’s light and he lives in the darkness. He tries to let her go, but he just can’t give her up. He wants to take care of her. He wants to make her life easier, make her happy in bed and out. He just wants Anya.

This book won’t be for everyone. It’s definitely more of an erotic romance rather than contemporary. Contemporary erotica is what I would call it. Knight is the quintessential alpha anti-hero. At first there doesn’t seem to be much to like about him. He’s overbearing and a little too protective. He gives Anya orders and expects her to obey. He takes over her life (for her safety of course). View Spoiler » Even with all that, he’s surprisingly likable. I couldn’t help but fall in love with both Anya and Knight. I ended up loving how Knight took care of Anya. She’s worked so hard her entire life and he wants to help her so she can actually live her life. Preferably with him.

There were some really annoying things about Knight though. One of the biggest ones is that he won’t marry Anya. If he had a reasonable explanation for not wanting to marry her, I could possibly get on board. But he doesn’t. That doesn’t end up mattering in the end because the love these two have is epic. Once in a lifetime. So the whole marriage thing didn’t matter in the end. It was just annoying at first.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Unfinished Hero

four-stars


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