Blog Tour: Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley [Review, Excerpt + Giveaway]

Blog Tour: Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley [Review, Excerpt + Giveaway]Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley
Series: Fantasyland #5
Published by Kristen Ashley August 15, 2016
Genres: Romance, Fantasy
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also in this series: Wildest Dreams
Also by this author: At Peace
Amazon US

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.

Franka Drakkar 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.

While I was excited to jump back into this otherworldly place with magical creatures and epic fairytale romances, I was also hesitant to bid adieu to a world that I fell for hard and fast. I mean, who seriously enjoys saying goodbye to a world and characters they have fallen in love with? Not I. But even with a bit of a resistance, I dived in whole heartedly into Midnight Soul and discovered that even villains can be redeemed and find their own HEA.

The choice of having Franka Drakkar as the heroine for the final installment of this series was a bit of a peculiar choice, in my opinion, since Franka has pretty much been that villainous bitch from the very beginning. While I enjoyed her as a villain, I personally wasn’t sure how much I would like her as a lead. But once I started reading, I grew more and more intrigued and wanted to know more about what made her such a stone-cold, black-hearted bitch. I think villains are always the most complex characters in a story and I was curious to see how many layers there were to this thick-skinned venomous woman. 

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

It didn’t take KA very long to have me in tears while I watched her break down Franka’s walls and reveal to us the reasons why Franka was so selfish, ruthless and conniving. Kristen gives you a front row seat to Franka’s hellish reality and this one particular scene left me in some serious tears. As painful as it was to see Franka be brought down so low, it’s what we (as readers) needed to see to understand why Franka needed to play the devious and malicious character. And discovering the root of all her evil wasn’t only eye-opening for me, but also for Noc and all the other main characters in this series. Their reactions were palpable and I especially loved seeing Frey’s response and reaction to discovering what had been going on with his cousin for so many years. I already loved the guy and seeing him being the protective cousin made me love him even more. 

“What makes a hero is the one that’s left standing when the others are dead. Or the one that gave his life so the others could live. That’s a fuckin’ hero.”

Now what I really loved the most about the romantic pairing in Midnight Soul was that Kristen Ashley shook things up a bit by pairing a man from the “real” world and a woman from the fantasy parallel world. I think it just made more sense that Franka would end up being with a man not from her world. A man who hadn’t seen first-hand her malicious ways and didn’t have any preconceived notions about her character. Noc’s patience and steady support during Franka’s transformation is what really makes your heart flutter. He definitely shows a lot more patience than KA’s other heroes, but in Franka’s state, it’s just what she needed.

While I admired the fact that Noc took his time with Frannie (as he liked to call her because he thought that Franka sounded too harsh) and I think it was the right decision, this is where the story lost me for a bit. Compared to the other books in the series, Midnight Soul definitely moves at a much slower pace. The couples no longer have to fight evil tyrants or wicked witches, so the meat of this story was solely Franka and Noc’s romance and giving us a look at the lives of the previous couples. While I loved catching up with the previous characters and appreciated seeing Franka and Noc’s relationship evolve from friendship to love, I was hoping there would have been a greater story arc before we got to the epilogue. The story does pick up during the second half of the book and this is the part that I really enjoyed. KA kinda gives a throwback to book one by showing us Franka’s reaction to the “real” world. Yes, KA mixes things up again by bringing the fantasyland character to our world. Just like how I enjoyed reading Finnie’s reaction to fantasyland, Franka’s reactions to our world was really cute. It really makes you realize how we sometimes take for granted all the little luxurious we enjoy  like a modern toilet or getting a mani and pedi.

“You don’t have a midnight soul, Frannie. Your soul is so bright, I look too close, I’d be blinded.”

Saying goodbye to characters is always hard but Kristen Ashley does a magnificent job in telling Franka and Noc’s journey to happily ever after; and delivers one hell of a send off for the rest of the Fantasyland couples by giving us one of my favorite ever KA epilogues. While Midnight Soul might have started on a slow note for me, Ashley solidly delivers a fitting ending for a series that I have grown to love in such a short period of time. As always, KA kills the epilogue and really left me satisfied and happy for all the characters in this series. She also gives us a taste of a budding romance that I’m hoping she’ll eventually turn in to a novella. For fans of this series, this is a do.not.miss.read. 

MS Teaser 1

~ ~ Excerpt ~~

~Franka~

“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!

~~Giveaway~~

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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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