Thursday, July 10, 2014

Christie's Review: The Promise(The 'Burg series #5) by Kristen Ashley


Title: The Promise
Series: The 'Burg series #5
Author: Kristen Ashley
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Rating: 3.5 stars
Cliffhanger: No

 Since his brother’s death, Benny Bianchi has been nursing his grudge against the woman he thinks led to his brother’s downfall. He does this to bury the feelings he has for Francesca Concetti, his brother’s girl. But when Frankie takes a bullet while on the run with Benny’s cousin’s woman, Benny has to face those feelings. 

The problem is Frankie has decided she’s paid her penance. Penance she didn’t deserve to pay. She’s done with Benny and the Bianchi family. She’s starting a new life away from Chicago and her heartbreaking history. 

Benny has decided differently. 

But Frankie has more demons she’s battling. Demons Benny wants to help her face. But life has landed so many hard knocks on Frankie she’s terrified of believing in the promise of Benny Bianchi and the good life he’s offering. 

Frankie’s new life leads her to The ‘Burg, where Benny has ties, and she finds she not only hasn’t succeeded in getting away, she’s doesn’t want to. 

"You've got nothin' but good comin' your way, Frankie, I can promise you that," he said softly.

This has to be the most highly anticipated Kristen Ashley novel, for me, in a very long time. We were introduced to Frankie and Benny in At Peace, one of my ALL TIME favorite books. Frankie with his charming smile and movie star looks, and Frankie-pushing through years of pain and rejection from the family that she always wanted to be a part of was tough, brave, and loyal. Somewhere between that book and this one, the story went on a different path than I had been expecting and I'm not sure I was too thrilled about that. Being a long time KA addict, I will continue to read her books searching for that magic that she can pull out and transfer into her stories. While there were many things I loved about this book, there were also several things I could have done without. The plot lagged in spots for me but in other areas picked up and drew my attention back in. It wasn't a smooth read through, but still enjoyable in parts.

Frankie is a tough heroine to completely fall in love with. What I thought I was going to get was a woman who was confident, brave, blunt, strong, and loyal. Loyal...yes she was. To a fault. Years of neglect in her childhood from both selfish parents caused her to desperately cling to people even when they didn't treat her well. It's caused her to fear being left with no family, blood or otherwise and in turn causes her to make some really screwed up choices. She also quite insecure and unsure of herself. I could understand that she was that way because of her past loss and rejection, but at the same time it bothered me and it was very frustrating to read.

From page one, Benny has made his mind up that not only has Frankie been mistreated by the whole family for years, but he's ready to admit that she belongs to him.

"You were mine, even when you were his."

He begins to infiltrate her life-surrounding her with support, love, and attempts to make amends for the past.

The beginning of their relationship was a huge struggle. They're both stubborn as hell. They're both opinionated and trying to accept this new place in each other's lives after being connected through Vinny who has passed away. It's left some ghosts that still haunt them and they have to come to terms with the past in order to move on. And my least favorite conflict....Frankie's insecurities and her fear of commitment because she doesn't want to lose this special family all over again if something goes wrong. Then they get hit with a major problem: if they want to stay together they have to attempt a long distance relationship.

I have absolutely no complaints about Benny. I loved him just as much as I thought I would. He's your typical KA hero. Everything you would expect and so perfect. He's protective, decent, strong, sexy, nurturing towards his woman, and has a soft spot for family.

"What makes you happy? What do you want outta life?"
"I..." I started, then changed what I was going to say. "Why do you ask?"
"'Cause I wanna know if it's in me to give it to you."

When Frankie finally "gets her head outta her ass" and grows confident in herself and their relationship, things really improved for me. She was sweet, affectionate, and giving. She's grateful for her place in the Bianchi clan. I loved the addition of some of the past characters- Joe and Vi of course, and some of the Rock Chick characters made an appearance as well.

I can't say I was too crazy about the drama with the murder/crime at her job. I started to skim a bit through that because it wasn't doing it for me. I would have liked to have seen more one on one time with Frankie and Benny and seeing them grow as a couple, see their bantering, and see more of Frankie's strength build and shine through. I decided on 3.5 stars because there was a lot to love and also a lot I wish could have been left out-so I met in the middle somewhere. I wish I could have rated it higher, but it wasn't a smooth and easy read for me despite my excitement over several factors. I've followed this series from the beginning-it's given me many laughs, tears, and shivers and I'll be sad when the last installment is completed with the next book. While this wasn't my favorite, it has a lot to offer and enjoy.


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