REVIEW: The Farthest Edge by Kristen Ashley
Excerpt from THE FARTHEST EDGE available below, after the book review!
SYNOPSIS: Branch doesn’t exist. Living off the grid, he’s looking for a way to forget his past and the guilt that plagues him. But no woman has ever been able to bring him to the edge he craves.
After a traumatic experience of her own, Evangeline stepped away from the decadent world of the Honey Club. But when she gets Branch’s offer―to play without boundaries or commitments―it’s too tempting for her to refuse.
As their passion ignites, Evangeline and Branch push each other to their farthest limit, fulfilling their darkest desires while falling harder and deeper than they ever imagined.
GENRE: Erotica, Contemporary Romance
SERIES: Honey #2
RATING: ★★★☆☆/ 3.5 guilty pleasure stars!
REVIEW: If you haven't read my review for the first book in this series, THE DEEP END, then feel free to take a second to get yourself aquainted with the new, kinkier, side to Kristen Ashley's writing by clicking HERE!
Now, if you're ready to dive into THE FARTHEST EDGE, let's do this...
I really enjoyed the second installment of the Honey series. It may not seem like it since I only gave it a 3.5 star rating but I think that that was largely to do with the fact that I liked the first book a tad more and therefore I had to make sure the star rating reflected that...if that makes sense. Because this series is supposed to be a slight departure from the normal KA books, the first Honey book was different and surprising and succeeded in pushing my book boundaries in all the best ways. This second installment, while still fitting into the theme of the first book, felt more like it was dialed down a touch and more closely resembled the Kristen Ashley books of old (and I say "old" in a cheeky way, as I'm sure any KA superfan knows). And maybe that's a good thing for those of you who were a bit skeptical...this one might be the book that will draw you in.
I freaking loved the beginning of this book. We get a shady and dark preview into one of the main characters and then quickly segue into the heart of our story. Evangeline is damaged and needs to "get back in the game". She's an incredibly strong character and even though this is a contemporary romance, and therefore two people meet and essentially heal each other and find love, we aren't given the impression that she needed a man to "fix" her. Evangeline finds it within herself to heal and then she gets to save the man she has chosen for her life. ...It's kinda awesome and one of the main reason's why I enjoyed this book.
On the other hand, Evangeline's climactic moment comes pretty early on in the book and then her character sort of stays one-note for the rest of the book. So it's a give and take. Even though THE FARTHEST EDGE has one of the strongest and self-sufficient women as the lead, the book becomes more about Branch and his journey. He ends up with the larger story arc, which wasn't bad, but I just wasn't expecting it to play out that way...and maybe that's just my own fault for having preconceived ideas (maybe Gaston was right, "It's not right for a woman to read. Soon she starts getting *ideas*, and *thinking*" ...just kidding!).
This is where I think that TFE is more like Ashley's core collection: whereas the first Honey book introduced a whole new venue and set of characters and played out in the semi-public venue of The Honey Club, this book is largely about the romance of two damaged characters in the confines and privacy of a house. Also, the lead male's past, job, and demeanor, also feels more like the alpha-male characters that KA likes to write. It definitely has a classic KA tone to the book and that might be the exact comfort zone that some readers are looking for!
None of that means that this book doesn't have some scorching and boundary pushing moments! The kinkiness is still in high effect and I loved it. I really wasn't sure that I would but once again I was surprised by how much I was drawn into the naughty bits. It was deliciously written. Like the first book, the "typical" male-female dynamic is flipped on it's lid and it makes for some hand-fanning-the-face moments and a much more fun and dynamic story. I won't spoil anything, I'll let you discover it for yourself (wink).
So once again, why the 3.5 star rating on a book that I really did enjoy. I think it mainly had to do with the pacing. While I liked the book, I think the biggest moment between Evangeline and Branch came very early on and then there was a lot of coasting. It was fun coasting, but it was also without a lot of surprises. But even still, I'll probably reread it, because that's just the type of book this is (the rereading for fun type), and I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series.
This book was provided to me by Ink-Slinger PR in exchange for an honest review.
She drove into the Honey, seeing the parking lot empty except for Aryas’s black Cayenne and a black GMC SUV, feeling that hunger grow.
Fun and done.
She grabbed the handles of her small bag before she opened the door and threw her leg out.
As instructed (by Aryas), she parked close to and approached the back door to the club.
As expected, it was open.
She moved through the halls, keeping centered and focused so as not to have any kind of freakout that the last time she was there, she’d been carried out by Aryas, beaten to hell and not giving a damn.
Because she might have been beaten to hell.
But the worst of it was, her heart had been broken.
She walked directly to Aryas’s playroom, known as the red room since it was decorated in reds, and the opaque shades that could be drawn down over the wall of windows to black out what was inside were the only shades in any of the rooms that weren’t black, they were red.
As she approached, she saw the red shades were drawn down.
She kept her gait steady.
It had been a year and the last scene she’d had was a bad one. She’d been assaulted at the same time she’d had a relationship end very, very badly with a man she’d thought she’d loved and was considering spending the rest of her life with.
A year ago.
This was now.
It was just a look-over anyway. It might be she wouldn’t like what she saw. Or he wouldn’t. And then giving any headspace to worrying what came after that was just a waste.
She was a Domme.
She’d trained under Mistress Sixxand Mistress Amélie, the two finest Dommes Evangeline had ever had the honor to see at play.
And before Kevin, even if she’d only been in her late twenties, she was one of the most sought-after Dommes at the Honey.
Now she was just thirty years old and she made good money. She took care of herself. She was successful. Educated. She wasn’t hard to look at. She had her own style in looks, clothes (and play) that she was honing to perfection.
She could do this.
She totally could do this.
She opened the door, stepped in and saw him.
She was so totally going to do this.
She closed the door behind her, dropped her bag and stood right where she was.
Aryas’s red room, known as his because this was mostly where he took his slaves, looked more like an opulent boudoir. Plush. Sumptuous. Heavy, carved furniture. Big, posted bed dressed in red and topped at headboard and ceiling with mirrors. Candelabrums everywhere.
No candles had been lit right then. The scene was not set, only red-shaded table lamps here and there were illuminating the space.
It still gave it a feel.
And that feel was good.
But more, the man before her was amazing.