Series Round-Up: Unfinished Heroes Series by Kristen Ashley

unfinished-heroes

Unfinished Hero Series by Kristen Ashley

I have this special relationship with Kristen Ashley novels. They’re usually the books that I go to when I’m in sort of a book funk and as always, these books get me out of that funk right off the bat. This is the first KA series that I’ve finished, even though I later on knew that there would actually be more books I think. I easily devoured these books even though they weren’t your conventional romance stories. I loved the complexity of the characters in each story and even though I did feel slightly uncomfortable with some parts, I still adored this series all in all.

Oh and trust me, KA knows how to write alpha-male characters perfectly.

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Knight (#1)

BOOK BLURB:

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.

MY REVIEW:

Overall Rating: 4/5 — Loved Knight but yes, like with most of the female readers, I did have some qualms about the whole kinky thing. Read it and you’ll identify it right away. 

“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.” 

You know I think I finally get why Kristen Ashley has such a strong following thanks to her signature way of writing. This is my fourth (yes, I counted) KA novel and even though it may have something to with my recent reading slump, I really did enjoy reading this one because it took me right out of that slump. I actually skipped this one and jumped into Creed before thinking that this would be not that good, but I was oh so wrong.

Even though honestly, I can’t find it in myself to relate to either Anya or Knight, I was still completely engrossed in their story. What I love about KA’s novels is the fact that her heroes aren’t your typical stupid jerks, playboys, and complete idiots. They know what they want and they work hard to get it and Knight was no exception. He didn’t really expect Anya to come stumbling into his life one night but when he did decide on letting her in, he really did everything he could to keep her as well. Now I see the pattern with KA’s novels with the way she deals with confrontations. In most romance novels, those confrontations lead to extreme lashing out and sometimes the couple ends up breaking things on a whim, but that’s hardly the case with KA novels. Anya and Knight worked on their shit, Knight mostly did the working and talking, but they did pull through without so much damage–which I liked a whole lot. I swear, I really get a healthy dose of relationship advice whenever I read KA novels because she brings a new light in seeing things from a mature and rational guy’s perspective. When Knight opened up and explained, he really explained good and clear.

Needless to say, the steamy scenes in this one were extremely hot and what surprised me was the fact that it had little angst as well. Although yes, I did have some problems with some of the steamy details that which I’m sure you can check out in other reviews. But other than that, I really liked the story and that epilogue even made me tear up a bit. This is definitely another KA must-read!

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Creed (#2)

BOOK BLURB:

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.

MY REVIEW:

Overall Rating: 4/5 — Definite read for those, like me, who happen to be suckers for second-chance love stories.

So this was my second Kristen Ashley book and I can finally see why she has a strong following with her novels that have her trademark genre and way of writing. Suffice to say, consider me a member of the Kristen Ashley Addict’s Support Group.

I completely adored her novel ‘Own The Wind’ and I intended to read ‘Mystery Man’ the next but I think I was put off a bit with the length of the novel. I decided to check ‘Creed’ out because I was looking for novels that had that childhood past angle (I’m such a sucker for that kind of love stories) and boy did I make the right decision in reading this one, even though I haven’t read ‘Knight’ yet. So we follow the story of Tucker Creed and Sylvie Bissenette, who were two lost souls who have found solace and safety in each other at a very young age. If you’re a first time Kristen Ashley reader, well second for me, you might get a bit lost with the storyline and the dialogue but once you get the hang of it, things’ll be so much easier to follow and understand. I think it was nice how she incorporated their childhood story as the present story progressed as well. It gives you a perspective of what they really shared when they were younger and those moments made me feel so much more for Creed and Sylvie as they reconnect after 16 years of being separated.

If I’m being honest, I almost wrote this novel off as well because I didn’t think I’ll be comfortable with the age group in this story… yes I know I’m weird like that. But Kristen Ashley just has that certain pull that I wasn’t even aware that I was already sucked into the story and I couldn’t get enough of it as well. What I love most about her novels is the underlying almost philosophical way of seeing things in perspective. Here’s one of my favorite lines:

“With sudden clarity it hit me that I was always a bit of this Sylvie. I liked clothes and I gossiped with my girls and I put on makeup, even now. But I was not the daughter my father wanted, who adored ballet and wore ribbons in her hair and didn’t beg him to let me go fishing with him every time he went out with his buddies.
So maybe the Sylvie due to circumstances I became was the Sylvie I was supposed to be.
And Creed had always had badass in him. He was his father’s son. We even talked about him joining the military when we got wherever we were going to go, settled in and he was okay with the possibility of leaving me to go on assignment.
So maybe due to circumstances, he became the Creed he was supposed to be.
And because the universe wasn’t right without us together, we became that way when we came back together.”
 

I really don’t want to spoil any more than I have but let’s just say Creed and Sylvie have gone through HELL before they finally found each other again. It was a constant battle between living in the past and what could’ve been and living in the present and making sure of their future together. The storyline’s kinda heavy but with the way it was written as well as the pacing and development, it all made for a beautiful journey to their happy ever after.

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Raid (#3)

BOOK BLURB:

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?

MY REVIEW:

Overall Rating: 4/5 — Completely adored Raid and the fact that Hanna was the female character out of all the books in this series that I related to the most. 

“You might think that’s jacked, but it’s not. It’s the goddamned 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.

You’re my reward, Hanna.”

A Knight in shining armor, a second chance at a long-lost true love, and now we get a childhood dream come true in the form of an extremely hot alpha-male ex-Marine. Now I’ve read some reviews about this book being one of KA’s weaker novels but in my honest opinion, I liked it immensely for the fact that this story was more grounded and not that farfetched compared to her more outlandish-themed novels. Not to mention the fact that compared to Anya and Sylvie (the heroines in the first two books of the Unfinished Hero series), I found myself relating to Hanna the most.

If you actually remove all the macho criminal-ish activity going on in the background, this is actually a sweet story about the timid and sweet girl who’ve had a crush on the town hottie for the longest time, who then turned her world around when he finally did notice her. I’m actually glad the story revolved more on their relationship and less on Raid’s business that has something to do with Knight and Creed’s business as well. Hanna is such a relatable character from her childhood crush on Raid, her awkward and quirky ways and mannerisms, her insecurities, as well as her vulnerability and quiet strength—all those traits Raid adored and loved a hundred and ten percent I might add.

“‘Cause all you gotta know is it’s gonna be you—and only you—until the day I die, because life did not lead me down the wrong path when I fell in love with a girl who had the sun shining in her hair who would eventually not do it for me. You’re not just enough for me. You’re everything I want.” 

I don’t know why but for some reason Raid made me cry the hardest compared to Knight and Creed. Oh man, that whole speech about Hanna being his reward and how it kills him that his fallen comrades would never get to experience having their reward just gutted me to the core. True to KA’s signature style, she has once again brought about a common issue–the PTSD of ex-military men–but of course, she addressed it in a way that’s very unique and so heart-wrenchingly real. There was also less angst and action here but we do get to see a sort of reunion of our favorite Unfinished Heroes and their ladies, which was such a treat because it’s nice to see them after they got their own HEAs. So if you’re looking for a rather light KA read, then I guess this is a great contender to satiate that need. Raid is one alpha male you DO NOT want to miss out on… trust me.

“I told you I didn’t dream as a kid bein’ a cop or an astronaut, but I gave a lot of thought to the woman I’d want in my bed. I grew older and gave more thought to that woman, but it was also about the woman I wanted in my life. And she was you. Then I met you. And now, every day I wake up I cannot believe my luck because you’re here.” 

P.S. Can I just say that I’m on Team Belly Pouch as well? Good job KA for addressing this issue because I really thought I was one of the few women who has this certain problem even though I am rather fit and athletic. I honestly can’t just lose this stupid belly pouch no matter what I do and no matter how hard I try. So yes, I do appreciate the fact that you repeated this issue in this novel even though you already addressed this one with Anya in ‘Knight’.

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