Friday, September 26, 2014

Christie's Blog Tour review and Giveaway: Deacon by Kristen Ashley


Series: Unfinished Hero #4
Author: Kristen Ashley
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Rating:3.5 stars
Cliffhanger: No

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.

Well. Here I go again, rating another Kristen Ashley book...average?? Kristen Ashley is so much more than average. She's put out many of my all-time favorite books. So amazing that I'm stuck to those pages so hard you couldn't tear me away if my house was on fire. I would still be clutching my book saying in annoyance, "Hey! I'm reading here!" I've re-read some of her books so many times, I could probably recite long stretches of dialogue without pausing to think. This author has the ability to transport me into her character's minds, emotions, and lives and make me want to stay there for a good, long time. That being said, I feel like crying, but this book in the end, wasn't a spectacular read for me. I need a hug, guys.

It started out so fresh, promising, and SO exciting. I was absolutely positive this was going to be a 5 star read. And then something happened. The interaction between the hero and heroine started feeling less thrilling and more repetitive. It started to feel like I was dragging instead of racing. And the sex went from "Holy Mother-that's hot" to "What?!" And I was left wondering, what went wrong?

I'm breaking this book into two halves because I had a polar opposite reaction to both parts.

First half:

It started out with a bang. Kristen Ashley tends to stick with what she does best: Alpha heroes, sassy heroines, and lots of bantering and antics. Which is just fine because she does that to perfection. But this time around, there was a refreshing, distinctive feel to the story. It was just so different. And I was loving it.

Cassie bought some beautiful cabins in the mountains for a song with plans to fix them up and experience her simple dream of living in that beautiful peace of country and having a peaceful fulfilling life. Deacon is the mysterious, intense, and silent man that rents the same cabin from her off and on throughout the months and years. Her first impression of him was that he was intimidating and sexy in a really scary way. His look burned right through her-I felt the heat between them immediately.

I loved how they just had brief moments of interactions through a long period of time. They gradually fell deeper without having to say a word. The push and pull between them was perfection.

There would always be thoughts in the back of my mind plaguing me, haunting me, making me wonder, if he let me in, even just a little, how it could have been.

The anticipation that was built was a thick and tangible thing. It was crazy good! The moment Deacon's willpower to stay away finally crashed and burned, I was eating it up. It was delicious, sexy, and fierce.

When they finally get together, it's finally revealed what was behind his stoic, impenetrable wall. He never gave a hint of what he was feeling away out of protection for her, but now he can't hold himself back anymore. Just a taste of her has him addicted.

"Not easy, fighting' your pull. Wantin' to be right here. Knowin' I was no good for you. Prayin' you'd get a man so when I'd come back I'd have a reason to stay away."

They tentatively try to forge a relationship together. They both realize that this thing they have is special. Despite Deacon's inability to share about much of anything about himself and his need to leave for periods of time unexpectedly without warning for work...Cassie is blindly putting her trust in him and taking a leap of faith. When Deacon is with her, he's everything she's always wanted in a man-intensely passionate, supportive, and he seems to savor the peace that she's found on that side of the mountain just as much as her.

Second half:

This is pretty much where it got stuck for me. My genuine feelings were that everything I was enjoying before started getting stuck on repeat and I started to feel that the plot was slowing way down as the erotica was building in the sex.

The kink:
I already knew that this book was going to be kinky. I mean, it's her erotic series so I was already expecting it. But for me, the kink wasn't working. I wasn't feeling it, it honestly felt weird. You're warned in the beginning about the anal play, I knew it was there, and I was fine with it. I read erotic books so that's a non issue. But what I didn't care for was the scene with him trying to prove his total trust in her during sex at the end. I couldn't conceive of him ever being okay with letting her do that to him-he even told her earlier in the book that he didn't care for it and yet suddenly he was asking her to do it and then...enjoying it? It felt off and it felt like it was added purely for the sake of pushing the erotic boundaries. Maybe it's just me. Plus, Cassie's secret desires that were revealed didn't feel natural to the rest of the story. They kind of came out of nowhere and vanilla disappeared with a POOF.

Second thing I wasn't feeling:The serious repetition of them discussing how much of a badass he is. (There are 52 badass references in the book. 52.) At first, I thought it was cute and funny, but after a while, it was seriously excessive. The more they talked about it, the less badass he seemed. Do badasses actually refer to themselves as badass? Maybe if we were shown why he is one a few times, it would work better, but after they hook up the story pretty much centers around them building their relationship.

Lastly:It bothered me how naive and trusting she was of him after a while. She blindly believed his integrity based on....what? He was so secretive with her! And after (view spoiler)

I wish I could have rated this higher given the fact that I insanely loved the first half, but I didn't end the book with a happy feeling. I felt conflicted and out of sorts. I loved the dynamic between Cassie and Deacon. I loved that there was a fresh originality to the plot that was so exciting to read. I loved this couple's passion and intensity. But as much as I loved those things, I didn't feel them all the way through. Kristen Ashley is cemented as one of my favorite authors however, and I know so many people won't agree with all my issues, so if you're planning on reading this, It could very easily be a huge hit for you. This has the potential to be a huge success.


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