Heaven and Hell by Kristen Ashley

Publication Date: December 28th, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars
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.

I had crow for breakfast. It was hardly delicious.
I followed that up with humble pie, extra tart for dessert (though, I only had a bite…it was too sour for my taste!).
Riiiight. I promised myself I’ll never read another book by Kristen Ashley again. But goddamit, the woman has power over me. Well, her books anyway, not necessarily her, personally.
Last night, I was browsing on my Kindle looking for something to follow up I Hunt Killers. I needed something easy; and by easy, I really mean smutty. Heaven and Hell caught my eye. Once upon a time, I found Kristen Ashley’s books in the Buy-by-Bulk section of Amazon (okay, not really). I downloaded a sh*t ton of her books on blind faith.  I gorged myself on all things Kristen Ashley. A week or so later, I had my fill of her pushy men and less than perfect writing so I quit. But then last night happened. And I knew – I just knew that being reacquainted with her characters will lead to some self-inflicted migraines and will trigger a reaction that literally disables my will to stop reading no matter how bad the writing was.
At this juncture, I’m admitting defeat. I can no longer resist her. I will swallow the proverbial bitter pill (which represents the awful writing), wave the white flag and open my arms in welcome to who ever character she’d recycle conjure up next.
Despite how methodical Kristen Ashley was, is with her characters, I still find myself eating anything she serves up. She’s a fantastic plot-weaver but very unoriginal with everything else. Unoriginal because she repeats herself. I’ve mentioned it before: her characters speak the same (the males, especially), their attitudes and traits are the same. Sam Cooper is character #124 (I’m just guessing) in her assembly line. More than once, I had the urge to scream at my Kindle and yet I couldn’t stop reading. Sam’s annoyingly forceful attitude seemed magnified because of Kia’s history. But when does any men in KA’s world ever listen to their women? or let them speak for that matter?
Speaking of Kia’s history, I’d like to say, in all honesty, that this book actually induced some unwelcomed waterworks toward the end. I did feel for her. And though my emotions waffled between sympathy and annoyance, it was still much better than detachment, yeah?
VERDICT: I understand why she doesn’t want to change a thing about her writing because it’s been a proven and successful formula. But at some point in any writer’s career, you have to show your readers that you’ve got a lot more to offer. Then again, who am I to tell Kristen Ashley to stop doing what she’s doing?
So to you, Ms. Ashley. Well done. You’ve managed to make me doubt my taste in books, shattered my confidence in recc’ing anything, and have come to question just what kind of woman I am for liking the Neanderthals that roam the pages of your books. I give up. I will buy anything you write. There. Happy?

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