Sunday, March 15, 2015

Soaring (Magdalene #2) by Kristen Ashley: Exclusive Excerpt, Review & Giveaway


Blurb:

American heiress Amelia Hathaway needs to start anew.

Her husband cheated on her, and when everything she wanted in life slipped through her fingers, she fell apart. When she did, she took another heart wrenching hit as she lost the respect of her children.

When her ex took her family from California to live in the small town of Magdalene in Maine, Amelia decided it was time to sort herself out. In order to do that and win her children back, she moves to Cliff Blue, an architectural masterpiece on the rocky coast of Magdalene.

Her boxes aren’t even unpacked when she meets Mickey Donovan, a man who lives across the street, a man so beautiful Amelia takes one look at Mickey and knows she wants everything from him.

The problem is, she finds out swiftly that he’s friendly, he’s kind, but he doesn’t want everything back.

Amelia struggles to right past wrongs in her life at the same time find out who she wants to be. She also struggles with her attraction to the handsome firefighter who lives across the street.

But Amelia will face a surprise when her friendly neighbor becomes not-so-friendly. As Amelia and Mickey go head to head, Amelia must focus on winning back the hearts of her children.

She soon discovers she also must focus on winning the heart of a handsome firefighter who understands down to his soul the beautiful heiress who lives across the street is used to a life he cannot provide.

Releases: March 16, 2015


Click to Buy The Magdalene Series on Amazon:


Review by Yvette:

Not-so-secret confession: I try to stay away from books that make me cry. Movies & TV shows billed as tearjerkers, I have no problem with, but for some reason, books that make me cry are a no-go for me. The one exception, of course, is Kristen Ashley, who seems to have a direct line to my tear ducts, making me cry at least once per book and I NEVER see it coming! There I am, just reading the book and minding my own business and BOOM – instant tears. I'm sitting there asking myself, what just happened? Why are these pesky tears obscuring my vision and preventing me from continuing with the book? That’s the beauty of Kristen Ashley’s writing though – she infuses every sentence with so much feeling and depth that my emotions seem to hover just beneath the surface of my skin any time I’m reading her books, ready to burst through at a moment’s notice.

Kristen Ashley has the uncanny ability to create a strong connection between the reader and her characters and with her newest release, Soaring, I felt a particularly strong connection with protagonist, Amelia Hathaway. Soaring does what no other Kristen Ashley has done before: telling the story from the eyes of a heroine in need of redemption. Typically, her heroines swoop in with their fabulous clothes, warm hearts and maternal instincts to make everyone’s' lives easier and brighter. With Soaring, however, Amelia is at a low point in her life and must begin the process of picking herself up. The shift in perspective is rather jarring and unexpectedly heartbreaking, as we've always previously been somewhat removed from this process of self-recovery. I was admittedly somewhat unprepared to deal with the emotions evoked by all the changes Amelia underwent over the course of the narrative, but I had faith that Kristen Ashley would repair any damage inflicted on these characters.

I felt as though I could feel each emotion that Amelia experienced –her loneliness, her despair, her anger, her hope, her happiness and a whole host of other emotions, especially those that pertained to her interactions with Mickey Donovan. Like all of Kristen Ashley’s heroes, Mickey is the textbook definition of an Alpha male, with tendencies toward possessiveness and hot-headedness, among other things. From their first meeting, the chemistry between Mickey and Amelia is undeniable, evident even through their constant bickering and misunderstandings. There's so much passion and aggression between them, every heated exchange between them in the book's first half is like a boxing match, with each throwing verbal punch after verbal punch. Luckily, there’s just as much loving as there is fighting in this book and the buildup ensures that any romantic encounter between the couple is nothing short of explosive.

There reasons why I love Kristen Ashley are immeasurable and Soaring only reiterated the fact that she writes consistently captivating narratives that are just as interesting whether the heroine is a trouble-magnet with an addiction to rock music or a woman discovering that it’s never too late to find yourself. I love that her characters have histories – they've lived, loved and made mistakes – and their experience is part of what defines them. Kristen Ashley has an indefinable quality to her writing that makes me want to revisit each new fictional world she imagines again and again because once is never enough time to fully absorb the epic romance in which the protagonists are swept away and to become immersed within the tight-knit, eclectic crew of family and friends that make you feel like one of their own. Soaring is a wonderful new addition to the Kristen Ashley universe and I have no doubt that I will be revisiting Amelia and Mickey’s story in the near future.

Rating: 5 Stars

About 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.

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Exclusive Excerpt:

Soaring
By Kristen Ashley
Release date March 16, 2015: e-book and print


 “Hello, Boston Stone,” I greeted because I had no idea what else to say.
“You are?” he asked as I put the bags to the ground and touched the button on the trunk that would open it keyless.
As it glided open, I opened my mouth, doing it uncertain if I’d share my name or continue to try to brush him off, but I didn’t have the chance to decide.
I heard the word, “Babe,” growled from behind me.
I turned and saw Mickey stalking our way.
Not sauntering.
Not simply walking.
Stalking.
And he didn’t look happy.
“Mickey,” I called tentatively as a greeting, uncertain at his demeanor.
I hadn’t seen him since he hadn’t seen me (I hoped) at the movies.
He was in his firefighter-not-fighting-a-fire uniform of blue khakis and tee. His eyes were moving up and down my body. He still was unbelievably beautiful (that uniform…seriously).
He didn’t greet me back.
When he stopped, his gaze cut to Boston Stone and it went flinty.
“You need somethin’?” he asked incomprehensibly inhospitably.
“I was just helping this lovely lady with her groceries,” Stone responded.
“I got it,” Mickey stated flatly and then he got it. As in, he carefully pulled me back, grabbed the bags I was perfectly capable of picking up myself and placed them in my trunk.
He then went for the bag Stone was carrying, caught hold, but Stone didn’t let go.
“I can put it in the trunk myself, Donovan,” Stone clipped.
So they knew each other.
“As I said, I got it, Stone,” Mickey clipped back.
Yes, they knew each other.
The handles flattened as they both kept hold and pulled.
“Please!” I exclaimed. “We already had a wine incident. The sidewalk of Magdalene has been anointed with one red, let’s not anoint Cross Street with four.”
Mickey instantly let go and stepped back, running into me but he didn’t apologize or move away.
He stayed close, the back of his left side touching the front of my right.
It was at that point I noticed Mickey gave off a lot of heat.
Stone put the bag in my trunk, shut it and turned slowly to Mickey and me.
But he had eyes on Mickey.
“Are you two seeing each other?”
“That’s your business how?” Mickey asked as reply.
“It’s my business because, if you’re not, I’d like to request you leave so I can ask her to dinner,” Stone returned.
My head jerked as my body locked in shock.
“That’s not gonna happen,” Mickey growled.
My body stayed locked in shock but that didn’t mean my eyes didn’t fly to Mickey’s stony-faced profile in more shock.
“So you are seeing each other,” Stone remarked.
“Again, not your business,” Mickey bit out.
Stone’s expression turned shrewd. “And that’s something that would lead me to believe that the beautiful woman standing behind you is free to go to dinner with me.”
“You forget English?” Mickey asked. “I already answered that too.”
I butted in, “I think I can speak for myself, Mickey.”
He moved nothing but his head (though his torso shifted an inch) so he could look down at me.
His eyes were communicating again.
This time they were communicating the fact that he really didn’t like Boston Stone.
Considering what I knew of Mickey, this would be something that, along with my own natural aversion to Mr. Stone, would have made me decline the man’s invitation.
Unfortunately, Mickey added words to his look so this didn’t happen.
“You’re not goin’ out with this guy.”
Was he being serious?
He couldn’t tell me what to do. He wasn’t my father, my brother or my lover.
Heck, he barely knew me!
All he knew about me was that he didn’t want me. I was his…“attractive” neighbor who he now did not even walk over to beg recipes from (okay, so Aisling didn’t know of any other recipes I had, but whatever).
He didn’t even return my email!
And he was off with beautiful, statuesque redheads, smiling at them, taking them to movies.
He couldn’t tell me who I could and could not see.
“I’m not?” I snapped.
“No,” he turned fully to me, an ominous fully. “You are not,” he enunciated each word clearly.
“Sorry?” I asked sarcastically. “When did you become my big brother?”
He was still enunciating clearly, and dangerously, when he stated, “I absolutely am not your big brother.”
“No, you’re not,” I retorted, tossing my hair, which I hoped was shining in the sun. And with my hair toss, I further hoped my fabulous highlights caught the rays and gleamed. “You’re my neighbor. And if I want to go out with someone, you can’t say boo to the contrary.”
“This guy is an asshole,” he bit off, jerking his thumb at Boston Stone.
I felt my eyes get big and I got up on my toes, leaning into him, hissing, “That’s insufferably rude, Mickey Donovan.”
“It isn’t rude if it’s the truth.”
“You may think so but you don’t say it in front of the man in question.”
“You do if he’s as big of an asshole as this asshole is,” Mickey shot back.
My eyes got wider and I leaned closer. “Stop being nasty!” I demanded.
“You been in town, what?” he asked then answered with another question he didn’t expect a reply to. “A coupla months? I lived here my whole life and trust me, I’m savin’ you from a load of misery, this guy gets interested in you,” he returned.
I rocked down to my stilettos. “I am a big girl, Mickey. All grown up and everything. I do think I can make such decisions for myself.”
“You do, and they’re not what I’m tellin’ you to do, you’d be wrong.”
I glared at him.
Then I pushed right past him, hand lifted and got in the space of Boston Stone.
“Boston,” I said as he took my hand, grinning arrogantly and more than a little obnoxiously at me. “A belated nice to meet you. I’m Amelia Hathaway.”
His hand tightened in mine as he murmured, “Amelia.”
I pulled my hand from his, asking, “Do you know Cliff Blue?”
“Of course,” he replied, inclining his head in a pompous way that actually was kind of creepy.
“I live there,” I announced, doing another hair toss and powering beyond the creepy. “And I have plans this evening but I’m free tomorrow. Are you?”
“I wasn’t,” he replied. “But I’ll be making a phone call and I will be.”
“Excellent,” I decreed. “Seven?” I went on to ask.
“I’d be delighted,” he said softly, his eyes dancing with humor and I could see that too was relatively malicious.
I didn’t care.
I’d go out with him once, just to stick it to Mickey.
Then I’d be done with Boston Stone.
And anyway, I had about seven new outfits that would be perfect for a date and I knew this even though I hadn’t been on a date in two decades.
“I’ll see you then,” I said.
“You will, Amelia.” He dipped his chin to me. “Looking forward to it.”
“And me,” I replied.
He gave me another arrogant grin then transferred it to Mickey.
“Donovan,” he murmured.
Mickey didn’t reply.
Stone looked back to me. “Until tomorrow, Amelia.”
“Yes, Boston. And please, feel free to call me Amy.”
Mickey grunted.
Boston smiled before he turned and sauntered away.
I whirled on Mickey and tipped my head to the side. “See? All grown up and able to make decisions for myself.”
“What I see is a pattern here,” he retorted unpleasantly.
“Oh?” I asked with mock interest. “Do tell.”
Then Mickey told.
“First time I laid eyes on you, your ex was up in your face, cursing at you, threatening you, shouting right at you and acting like a total fucking dick. It’s obvious he’s rich and up his own ass and didn’t give a shit you were alone, and because of that, you probably felt unsafe. It was just as obvious you were lettin’ him use you as his punching bag. Even if no woman deserves the way he was speakin’ to you, he just kept right on punching. Now, you know that guy you just made a date with is a total asshole and you made that date anyway. So that’s your pattern. You open yourself up for assholes to shit all over you. And if that’s the way you like it, baby, then no way in fuck I’m gonna get in there to show you there’s another way.”
Before I could retort, he turned on his boot and prowled away.





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