Review: The Promise by Kristen Ashley

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Part One:

Boring. That’s how I’d describe “The Promise” by Kristen Ashley, the fifth book in the author’s The ‘Burg series. If one has not read the second ‘Burg book, “At Peace,” you won’t get the characters, the plot, and the whole shebang. I read “At Peace.” It was okay – not wow, just tolerable. Based on my experience with Ms. Ashley’s books, they’re either a hit or a miss. Whilst I’m keeping my copies of “Games of the Heart” and “Golden Trail” on my e-reader, I’m definitely going to lose this one, same as I’ve deleted “At Peace.”

Ms. Ashley wrote a caveat at the beginning of “The Promise.” Essentially, she said she wanted to write Benny and Frankie’s story in line with the ‘Burg series’ concept, and perhaps, the venue of the rest of the ‘Burg books. She then continued to say that the fictional characters in her head had “different plans.” A truer statement has never been heard, “The Promise” started off at the point where Frankie was at the hospital, recuperating after her gun shot wound surgery, which she sustained while trying to save Violet, Cal’s love. Allow me to please insert here that I had looked forward to reading about how Benny and Frankie finally got together. By the 50% mark of the book, I’ve had it. Nothing really happened in the first half of the book, except that we see heroine Frankie being beyond crazy. I just don’t get her. FRANKIE doesn’t understand herself either. She’s another example of Ms. Ashley’s wishy-washy female characters, one who epitomizes the 21st century woman who doesn’t always understand what she does and what she wants. She’s high-strung, high-maintenance, high-stress, and full of mega drama. I hate this type of depiction in my fictional books. Real life already gives us women shit about how we act; why does fiction have to hammer this irksome point in, too? Benny is a tool, too. He’s also another Kristen Ashley classic male lead – the “I want her”/“No, I don’t”/“I want her”/“No, I don’t”/“I love her so I’m not letting her go” type. At one point, he started dictating to Frankie what she should and should not wear for work. Jeezus.

My first “DNF” Kristen Ashley book is “The Promise.” Sigh. Too bad.

Part Two:

I lied. I finished the book. Arrrrgh! I just didn’t want to waste the money I spent on all the ‘Burg books. I mean, I’ve determined already that this is not a keeper, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t finish it. So I did.

Boy, okay, whaaaat?!?! It changed. “The Promise” changed. Precisely at the 60% mark, Ms. Ashley waved her magic pen (or worked her magical typewriting fingers) and we got intrigue, murder, and cameo appearances of characters from Ms. Ashley’s Rock Chicks series – a series that I’ll be reading next! The Promise is like 2 books in one. Nay, it’s like Stephenie Meyer’s 4th Twilight book, “Breaking Dawn,” except reversed. The first part of The Promise was all zzzzzzzz; the second part? Okay, now we got something to talk about. Sal the mob boss stepped up like never before. Frankie turns out to be a beloved pseudo-adopted daughter of the Chicago Mafia head honcho. While Benny is undoubtedly a kick-ass alpha male hero, he’s still a pizza maker, so what Ms. Ashley did there at the end was done believably and… 3 starsOMG, Luke Stark steps in. I won’t say anymore. Their HEA was a longtime coming – for me. Frankie got her head on straight. Benny got his shit together. All’s well in another “The ‘Burg” book.

Please, gawd. Let the final ‘Burg book be better than this. I read its synopsis. Wasn’t expecting Merry to end up with Cheryl, but okay. Just please. Let it be good.

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