8/14/16

REVIEW + EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY: MIDNIGHT SOUL BY KRISTEN ASHLEY!

Title: Midnight Soul
Series: Fantasyland Series Book 5
Author: Kristen Ashley
Release Date: August 15, 2016
PURCHASE HERE:

SYNOPSIS:
Against his will, Noctorno Hawthorne, an undercover vice cop, finds himself embroiled in magic, mayhem and parallel universes. Too late, he meets an amazing woman only to find she’s destined for his identical twin in another world.
And things aren’t going real great there.
Noc is recruited to help save that world.
What he doesn’t know is his destined love resides there.
FrankaDrakkar wears a mask. A mask she never takes off to protect herself in a world of malice, intrigue and danger.
When Franka meets Noc and he discovers her secrets, convinced she carries a midnight soul, having shielded herself from forming bonds with anyone, she struggles with accepting his tenderness and care.
When Noc meets Franka, over wine and whiskey, her mask slips and Noc knows it’s her—only her—and he has to find a way to get her to come home with him.
And then make her want to stay.
PURCHASE HERE:
"I was no one but his, he was no one but mine, destined to be together, connected, balancing…bloody…worlds."

In a mystical world where love and magic transcend the universes, Franka Drakkar is the villain. Throughout this series there's been arguably no character more self serving, more self absorbed, more treacherous than Franka Drakkar. It was difficult to fathom Franka endearing herself to me enough that I'd wish to root for her happily ever after, especially a happily ever after involving the sweet and sexy Noc of this world. But she did. Oh, how she did.

Midnight Soul is the perfect redeemed villain storyline. Franka has long been cast off as a stone cold, black heart. Selfish. Ruthless. Midnight Soul is the heartbreaking story of why. How did Franka Drakkar become the woman everyone believes her to be? What brutal secrets is she hiding? What has tarnished her soul? And what does the Noctorno Hawthorne of our world see in her that no one else can?

“You are not one fuckin’ thing like they think you are, are you?”
“I’m exactly what they think I am.”

Kristen Ashley is just brilliant. I mean, this author's creative mastery knows no bounds. Who else could craft such a world where a witch can spirit a hot, single New Orleans cop out of his bachelor pad and into another universe that looks more like a "Renaissance Faire run amuck" and have him be anxious to get to know the people and the land all the while still rocking his henley t-shirts and faded jeans and sexy drawstring pajamas while everyone else is carrying swords and riding a sleigh to get into the village? And in the very same story, a cold-hearted villain accustomed to a lifestyle of servants, magic, elves, and royalty is ported into a world of pedicures, Nordstrom shoe racks, flushing toilets and iPhones. I mean, what is this world?? It's freaking crazy. Brilliant, but crazy. The possibilities are endless for romance, magic, humor and trouble and Kristen Ashley takes full advantage.

This story is sexy and magical and it's as heartwarming as it is gut-wrenching at times. What I wasn't expecting was how funny it would be. It's bizarre and amusing enough to transport an ex cop into a Disney-esque world and have him enjoy being there. But it's downright hilarious watching Franka and her servant, Josette, acclimate to our world, what with their highbrow tastes and hoity toity accents. This story reminded me of watching Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall in Coming to America. It's hilarious and fun and unpredictable and the romance that evolves between a man from this world and a woman from another in the middle of all of it is just perfection.

I'll admit Midnight Soul felt a bit slow going at first, but understandably so. There's a lot happening in Lunwyn at the opening of this story, there's a lot happening in Franka's life, there's a lot to the early moments she shares with Noc, there's a lot she must deal with and endure and come to terms with before a romance can possibly come to the forefront of the story. So while I may have felt a bit restless for the quintessential Kristen Ashley romance to make its appearance, all that does transpire in the beginning of this story is necessary, perfectly paced, and beautifully illustrated for the reader. Given that, once romance ensues, it's that much more gratifying, that much more delicious. This story is richly layered, perfectly complex, and rife with so much feeling. The onslaught of emotion I felt for Franka and Noc, for all they were up against, and for all the characters that are woven through this fantastical love story never ceased. From beginning to end I was drawn in to this story and was taken along on this magical, majestic journey right along with these characters.

While all of Kristen Ashley's series typically allow the reader to skip around, this is one series that should be read in order. Each novel leads into the next with the journey of each couple evolving with the addition of new characters as they all unite to face their rivals. Midnight Soul provides such heartwarming farewells for all the characters I've grown to love through this series and you don't want to spoil the journey by reading the ending first! I'm not a reader that typically reads a lot of fantasy, but I am a reader that reads anything by Kristen Ashley and this fantastical romantic saga is one I will happily return to again and again. Ashley creates this visually stunning world where the ordinary characters of our world are thrust together with the extraordinary characters of a parallel universe in romantic escapades and thrilling adventures and the result is nothing short of magic. With her signature rock chick flare, lush writing style I just can't get enough of, and captivating characters I just adore, Kristen Ashley's fantastical world of magic and sorcery, friendship and romance is one you'll never forget.

Jessica's Rating:

“You need to leave,” I declared.
His brows drew together a moment before his expression showed clearly that comprehension had dawned.
Sadly, comprehension might have dawned but he didn’t leave.
He crouched by the bed and offered in a soft voice, “You need me to carry you to the other room so you can have a bit of privacy?”
Dear goddess.
He thought I needed a chamber pot.
But…
What was happening to my face?
Dear goddess!
The heat I felt in my cheeks could be nothing other than me blushing.
I didn’t blush. I’d never blushed. Not even when I’d set about seducing my first lover at age sixteen.
I needed to be quit of this man as soon as possible.
“No…I…do…not,” I bit out.
“Sure?” he asked kindly.
“I need you to leave, Noctorno,” I used his full name in an effort to irritate, something that worked if the flare in his eyes was any indication, “so Josette can prepare me. We’re away to Kristian’s this morning.”
Another drawing of his brows before he asked, “What?”
“After my toilette, Josette and I are to my sleigh so we can begin our journey to my brother’s home.”
His eyes got bigger as his mouth inquired peculiarly, “Are you high?”
“No,” I answered his ridiculous question unnecessarily, “Indeed, I’m low. As you can see since I’m lying abed.”
For a second he just stared at me.
Then he threw his head back and burst into loud, deep, beautiful laughter.
I wanted to throw something at him.
Unfortunately, in my current position, this was not an option open to me.
“I fail to see what’s amusing,” I noted.
He controlled his mirth only to mutter, “I’ll explain it later.” He went on more distinctly, “Frannie, you’re not goin’ to your brother’s today. Or tomorrow. Or until you’re fit. Then, maybe Valentine will spirit you there, or whatever the fuck that’s called. But for the foreseeable future, your ass is in that bed and you’re resting so you can heal.”
Well!
Who did he think he was, telling me what I would or would not do?
“As you’ve determined,” I began, “this is not the first time I’ve been in this condition so I do believe that I know best what I’m capable of and…”
I stopped speaking because he came slightly out of his crouch so he could put his face into my face and he was no longer looking mirthful.
He was looking angry.
Very angry.
“That was when you had no one lookin’ out for you but that’s not the case anymore. So this is how it’s gonna be,” he announced.
He then, to my shock, irritation and outrage, announced how it was going to be.
Like he had the right to tell me how it was going to be!

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and 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!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen's Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.

Nothing's changed.

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she's blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with 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, it keeps getting better.



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4 comments:

  1. If I lived in a parallel universe then I'd love to explore all the new and exciting places and people. Maybe even find myself a hot alpha like Frey 😊

    ReplyDelete
  2. If I lived in a parallel universe then I'd love to explore all the new and exciting places and people. Maybe even find myself a hot alpha like Frey 😊

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you so much! ~Jessica, InkSlinger PR

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  4. I would want to meet other people and travel!

    ReplyDelete