Sunday, April 20, 2014

Review: Heaven and Hell By Kristen Ashley

Heaven and Hell (Heaven and Hell, #1)

Heaven and Hell
By Kristen Ashley
Series Heaven and Hell #1 
Published: December 28, 2011
My Rating

After making a bad decision when she was very young, Kia Clementine finds herself in hell. Then, suddenly, within the time it takes for a shotgun to blast, her hell changes. Completely. Then out-of-the-blue she sees Sampson Cooper, her celebrity crush. A man the whole world knows is decent. A man the world knows is loyal. A man the world knows is good. All of these very unlike her now dead husband.

He’s sitting at a table right next to hers. And she catches his eye.

Terrified of the interest Sam shows in her, Kia finds the courage to go out with him. Not long after, she shares her dark secrets and Sam shares that he’ll stop at nothing to gain her trust. 

As Sam leads Kia to heaven, Kia realizes that Sam is living his own hell. But although he gives her beauty and she gives him everything, he withholds his trust.

Even with all the beauty Sam shows her, Kia wants it all. But Sam forces Kia to make a heartbreaking decision and only she can decide. It’s all or nothing.

Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn't taken her first breath!). 

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up. 

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

Links: Goodreads / Website / Twitter

“You don’t wanna talk about why you sat three tables away from me for three hours tonight and didn’t even smile at me, comin’ or goin’.”

“So now we’re playing a game?”

“Breakfast, seriously refreshing and now it’s cat and mouse. Which one am I Kia?”- Sam


“How a woman can be so transparent and so full of shit at the same time is beyond me, but, baby, you got it down to an art.”


“I know you’re freaked, I know you’re scared and I know you can come up with a million reasons that you’re not ready, all of which will be excuses. But know that I know exactly what’s behind those shields you got up, baby, and just how flimsy those shields are, you gotta know that knowin’ that makes me no less into you.
In fact it makes me more into you.”- Sam

Kia has just found out that her husband died because his girlfriend’s husband blew his brains out. Yep, he was getting some on the side and got killed for it, but that’s okay because he was a very bad husband to Kia. He was physically and verbally abusive to her and she felt like she couldn’t ever leave him, so this was her escape route. She didn’t know about his side ventures, but she wasn’t happy and tried to leave him but that always ended up badly. I’m very glad that the book wasn’t solely based on the bad parts of their relationship. I would have hated if there were really graphic scenes about that, but there weren’t and I’m grateful. So Kia’s husband leaves a life insurance for millions and she decides to quit her job and take a vacation to Europe, where she meets Sampson Cooper, who left football to join the Army. This is where the story takes off, blossoms and knocks my socks off.

Kristen likes to write stories with cutesy, girls girl, she doesn’t know she’s beautiful female main character and hard-ass, tough-as-nails/compassionate gorgeous hot alpha male leads. To me it’s not even much about the female’s character, even though it’s in her POV, for me it’s all about the guy. I connect more with the male characters in her books than the female ones, not that it’s a problem, I still connect with the story as a whole. This story was just so awesome, I loved it. There are twists and turns, betrayal, secrets, mystery, love, passion, humor. It was very well rounded in all aspects of it.

Sam, what can I say about you? The man is trained to kill for God sakes! Yet he is so understanding, he figures Kia out in a second, knows what she’s feeling, how she’s feeling… and fixes it. Yeah it pissed her off sometimes how easy she is to figure out but most men are oblivious to what women like, want, and need, but this man gets her in every way. I feel like he’s the perfect man. He’s willing to help he and wait for her to deal with all her drama, he wants to prove to her that not all men are like her asshole ex. He also has some demons of his own he has to deal with, he’s a good man but puts a lot of responsibility on himself, and he doesn’t want to share that because it’s a lot to take in’ it’s dark and it sucks but it’s also part of him. In the end Kia has shared everything with Sam but she feels that he is holding something back; a secret and a part of himself and she doesn’t want that, she wants all of him, everything he can give, all the good and even the bad. Will he trust her enough to share his deep dark past with her, and can she live with having pieces of him? And how would that be fair?

I have read 5 of her books and they're all 5 stars. That should tell you something... that she’s awesome. I've read her Unfinished Heroes 3 books that are currently out and Play It Safe which is a stand alone & loved them all.
She’s one of my favorite authors. She writes male characters exactly how I like them; tough but with a sensitive side that they only show their woman. I love it when a man can show compassion and understanding. Her characters are always well rounded, and I always connect with them. Omg the side characters in this book were so great! I loved Celeste and her husband,their story was so sad but they were such nice people. Kia and Celeste made an instant connection when they met. She was so happy that Kia found happiness, I thought their relationship was so beautiful, it made me so happy to read about it. Celeste was very much part of the story and I enjoyed that. There weren't any annoying best friend type of characters that always encourage the main characters to live it up, I hate those. I also loved Luci, her story was seriously heart-breaking and the next book is about her. I really felt for her, I ended up connecting a lot with her as well. She was Sam's friend and totally loved Kia and was so happy that he found a good woman because she hated the other women he brought around. I also loved Kia's brother, he was awesome. I loved how everyone was always together like a happy family, having friends that you consider family is so great. I really felt like I was in this story.

I totally love this book, so much happened, so much character development and it was so good to see. The ending was just beautiful, when Sam came back from being away for work...

"You're... fucking... dating?" 

That was just epic! Everything that came after that totally melted my heart, I was a puddle on the floor that needed to be swept up. Seriously. Unbelievable. The man knows how to sweet talk you like there's no tomorrow. I can't wait to continue this series and check out Kristen's other books. There are plenty more alpha male hotness in her other books so I'll be checking those out.

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