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. 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.
©2011 Kristen Ashley (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
When Kristen Ashley gets it right you appreciate what a good story teller she is. The characters can often be complex, with several storylines woven together. This book has the feel of Lady Luck and At Peace both of which I have revisited.
There is nothing quite like being drawn into a story by the first chapter . My only criticism would be the level of bad language which I think is not really necessary. Do people talk like this ? But even so, a very good book.
Kia, she is just such a strong women to still be standing tall after everything she went through.
Where can I get my very own Sam from ? Loved him,loved this book and loved how the yummy Lee nightingale made an appearance..Listen to this audio ,you will not be disappointed.
"Very good contemporary romance :D"
This was a really good story. I liked both Kia and Sam and their story was interesting kept me reading until the end.
Kia made a mistake in high school of choosing the wrong man. She got involved with and then married the high school football star that didn't make it anywhere (not even managing to graduate college) and made her suffer for a life gone wrong. Kia tried leaving him but never managed to stay away and paid dearly for every attempt. She lived in fear until the sheriff came to see her and tell her that her husband was dead, shot due to his own mis-deeds.
Sam is a very talented guy and got famous when he played college and then professional football. He loved his mom and his brother very much and did what he could to take care of them. When his brother was killed in the military, Sam left football to join the Army. He's since left the Army but is still rather famous even though he'd rather not be. Sam's dated a lot but never anyone that was real and made the cut in the end so he's still looking for his "one".
Kia's husband was cheating on her and his lover's husband was the one that killed him. Kia was rather shocked but had been a victim of her husband long enough that she was more relieved than upset about her husband's death. This feeling was reinforced when she found out about a large life insurance policy her husband had taken out on them both...her's for twice as much as his own. Soon she found out that he and his lover were planning to hire a hit man to kill her for the insurance money. Kia took a few months (around 5) to recover and find herself again and then decides to use her windfall to go to Europe. She travels to a few different locations and after she's been travelling a couple weeks she happens to go down for breakfast at her hotel and gets seated across from Samuel Cooper. Kia had always crushed on Samuel Cooper and semi-cyber stalked him so she knew who he was but didn't want to intrude and tried to ignore him and give him his privacy. That soon gets nixed as a restaurant employee with an eye for romance ends up pushing them in to sharing a table. They have a very nice breakfast together and there's an obvious spark between them. Their start is a little rough though, because Kia is unsure of Sam's intentions and after being in an abusive relationship for 7 years, she has a hard time crediting that a man like Sam would look twice at her.
Sam soon corrects Kia's erroneous assumptions but it's not easy by any means. Because of what she went through, Kia doesn't feel worthy of a guy like Sam and tries to push Sam away but Sam wont be budged, determined to get his chance to know Kia. Sam thinks there's something very special about Kia and is determined to help her through her rough time dealing with her past and then have a chance to see if they can have a future together. Sam was sweet and patient with Kia and made her feel safe, which is something she hasn't felt in a long time so it meant a lot for her. They end up spending the rest of her vaca together (a couple more weeks) and then go back to her home town in Indiana to see her friends and take care of some other stuff. As this is happening, news comes that the hit on Kia by her husband and his lover wasn't just planned but bought and paid for. Sam is all over making sure that Kia is safe and brings in people to help ( from other KA series, like the Burg). Kia gives in to Sam's need to keep her safe but there's some issues between them as things get more serious between them because Kia gives all of herself to Sam but Sam holds back. I have to give Kia credit, she didn't cut and run at the first hurdle, she stuck it out and things only came to a head when any woman would have found it hard to ignore. Things get pretty dicey for the couple and my heart was breaking for Kia and Sam during the rough points. Thankfully, Sam made the needed effort to breach the gap and make things right between them, leading to their well deserved HEA.
This was a really enjoyable read. Kia and Sam were both really good MCs and I could help but root for them from the start. Their story was well paced to keep things interesting...not a huge amount of action but the suspense kept things going when the romance wasn't. Overall I really liked it and am looking forward to the next book in the series (whenever it comes out). I'd recommend this story. Thumbs up! :D
+ note - the narrator of the audio version did a really good job, especially with all the accents. :)
"Best KA book ever!"
My favorite KA book by far. Narrator was phenomenal! She nailed every accent! May have to read (listen) to it again I enjoyed it so much.
"Heaven and Hell"
Heaven and Hell (Heaven and Hell 1) Kristen Ashley/Felicity Munroe
This audiobook is awesome. You will laugh, and you will cry. There are some nice cameo appearances from other KA books (Rock Chick and the 'Burg) which is always cool. As with KA's work in general, it's a good, solid, sweet, sexy, heartbreaking, awful, fantastic, amazing and life-affirming tour of hell, then heaven, then hell, then heaven. When I heard, "Epilogue," I was sad it was over and wondered how it was even possible to "already" be at the end of an almost-20-hour book. Our heroine's a pretty cool chick who has been kicked around and brought low but is neither a doormat nor a bitter shrew. I liked her a lot. Our hero's a super-hot, alpha bad*ss, ex-NFL player, ex-Army Ranger, with fabulous abs, a wicked protective streak and a squishy soft center that's REALLY tough to get to but is so worth the effort, and the "supporting cast" consists of very cool people you would totally want to hang out with.
The narrator, Felicity Munroe, is quite good. I thought she had a good feel for and fit with the story. She did a good job with the many characters, both male and female, and was easy to listen to. She did accents well (Southern, Italian, French and British), and overall, I really liked her performance. I listened at 1.25 speed, but I think that most audiobooks sound a little more natural at that speed because good narrators take the time to enunciate clearly, give the right inflection and pronounce words correctly, and in order to do that, they have to speak a little more slowly than normal. My ONLY criticisms are that she used a semi-Southern accent for Kia, though she is from the midwest (Indiana) and mispronounced Raleigh as "Riley." Seriously though, no biggie because it wasn't mentioned that often. (Having lived in North Carolina for more than a decade, I think I understand how she came up with "Riley." Here, oss=ice, far=fire, non=nine, tarred= tired, etc. Basically, they avoid the long "I" sound like unsweetened tea. SO, if a Southerner told you they went to what sounds like "Rollie," I can see how you might translate that as "Riley.") Other than those very minor anomalies, I think FM was a perfect fit for this book, and I hope she is available for future sequels in this series.
Creditworthy? Abso-freakin-lutely!! But, you can get a pretty good deal if you go the Whispersynch Kindle/Audible route. I got the Kindle version for $1.99 on sale and then the Audible companion for only $3.49, but I would have happily parted with a credit or cash for this gem.
"WOW.... SIMPLY STUPENDOUS"
It's all been said before..... brilliant, one of her best, great narration, couldn't stop listening to it and I was one unhappy bunny if anyone dared to disturb me while I was happily in Heaven and plunged into Hell along with Sam and Kia.
Worth a credit? Yes, yes, yes..... 19hrs and 45 mins takes commitment to a book..... but I guarantee you won't regret one minute of it.
"Never found heaven. This book was really bad."
The only reason I didn't request a refund was the brilliant narrator.
Sophomoric writing, offensive characters and NO story development. Don't bother waiting for something to happen- there is no plot - no intelligent vocabulary-
It is extremely hard to believe that a modern woman wrote this. It was more likely penned by a 70 year old "John Wayne" fan.
Who still thinks it is sexy to bully their love interests to win them over?
Coming out of an abusive relationship the main character is "saved" by an equally abusive man with better looks and more money. Terrible message to send to young women.
The entire book was hell.
"OMG! THIS IS BY FAR MY FAV KRISTEN ASHLEY BOOK!"
This is my favorite Kristen Ashley book hands down. This story is almost like a modern day Cinderella story where the evil stepmother (or in this case husband) gets what's coming to him in the beginning of the story instead of torturing the heroine the entire story.
I honestly do not even know where to start with this book. It wasn't just the hero and heroine in this story that made it worth reading. The secondary characters were amazing. I'm still waiting for Luci to get her book.
Kia became such an amazing woman after loosing her husband. He was holding her back her entire life and him dying gave her the chance she needed to become her own person and meet Sam. I think a part of me felt like she didn't feel she deserved Sam. She always felt like she was pretending to be someone she wasn't, when the truth was, this person she was pretending to be was the real her all along.
Sam was an ex-football player who hated the excessively rich things in life. He was a seal, a football player, and an amazing man who saw the scarred and beautiful person Kia really was. He helped her to bloom and see her worth.
It's hard to describe how these two characters made me feel. I've very rarely felt such a strong connection between two characters in a book that I felt I needed to read a book over and over again in order to relive their story. I usually will listen to my favorite books over and over, but I only read a book more than once if it is truly amazing. This is one of those books I have read at least 4 times, which is amazing considering Kristen Ashley books are not known for being short. That's why I was so excited when I saw this book on audible. I honestly would have used all of my monthly credits for this book! Lucky me, since I own the kindle edition I only had to pay $3.47!!!! That's a steal.
"One of her best yet!"
Loved this book! I'm an avid fan of Kristen Ashley and have enjoyed all her books. I really like how she ties most all the characters, from all her series, into other series she writes. This book has been one of my favorite so far!
"Audible made a great book even better!"
I'm sure I would have loved reading this book, but the narration made it amazing!
"Another great book from KA!"
This one has everything. Very funny writing, kept laughing out loud, which is not so funny when you're out in public. Had some heartfelt sections too. Loved all the characters and the side stories that came with them. There's a couple of cameo's from some of her other series. Nice to "see" them. Felicity Munroe is excellent as a narrator. She does American, French, Italian and Australian accents and they all sound great to me. I'll put this one up as one of my favorites.
"Loved this Narration!!"
I will listen to Heaven and Hell multiple times because I love the story and the Narrator does an excellent job of expressing Kia's feelings and making Sam sound just like what I was hoping he would.
The narrator did all the accents wonderfully. I love how unsure Kia always was and it comes through in the voice.
It's a close call between Kia and Sam. Kia has so much emotion, but same has the compassion to keep Kia at ease.
When Kia flinches and ends up revealing to Sam he history.
I always love any book written by Kristen Ashley, so this was just as great as the rest. Felicity does the story justice and I would love to hear more from her.
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