Thursday, February 28, 2013

Blog Tour and Giveaway Galore: Raid by Kristen Ashley

We are unbelievably honored to be a part of this amazing blog tour for Raid by Kristen Ashley!  No one’s books garner as much as excitement as KA’s do, so why should Raid be any different. This is the much anticipated release of book #3 in the Unfinished Hero series. When asked if we would be interested in reading Raid prior to its release, we jumped at the chance to do so, and to be a part of the tour…icing on the CUPCAKE!!  Let it be said…we were not disappointed. So as a group, we decided to gather our thoughts and let you read them in this fun chat that we put together (tons of credit goes to Elizabeth and Steffi). We hope you enjoy it, we had a blast doing it, and then enter to win some awesome prizes courtesy of Kristen Ashley!

Our thanks to Kristen Ashley and Chas for always offering Swept Away By Romance the opportunity to join in the fun. It’s been an incredible... Raid!! 

Hanna Boudreaux has lived in the small town of Willow all her life. She’s sweet, cute and quiet.

Hanna has a moment of epiphany when she realizes her crush for forever, Raiden Ulysses Miller, is not ever going to be hers. She sees her life as narrow and decides to do something about it.

Raiden Miller is the town’s local hero. A former Marine with the medal to prove his hero status, he comes home, shrouded in mystery. It takes a while, but eventually Hanna catches his eye.

After all these years of Raid and Hanna living in the same town, the question is why? Is Raid interested in Hanna because she’s sweet and cute? Or does Raid have something else going on?

Join us at Rachelle's Café for our chatty review of RAID

The Swept Away ladies decided to meet up at Rachelle’s Café for a chat about one of their favorite authors, Kristen Ashley, and her latest release, RAID…

Steffi: I’m dying to find out what you girls thought about Raid's character!! I loved how tough Raid was on the outside, but Hanna could bring out his vulnerability. Plus...he's SUPER sexy and hot ;-)

Kristen: I liked Raid.  I thought he was a good, solid, very likeable character, but he didn't own me the way some of Kristen Ashley's heroes have.  Karla, I know you like ‘em bad. Raid must have been right up your alley, girl!

Karla: Well...oddly enough, there were a few moments early on where he made me really mad, and I lost some respect for him. But, you know Kristen Ashley, she always finds a way to redeem these bad boys!  Also, with good reason, I felt like Raid was a bit more tortured than many of KA's heroes. Elizabeth, did you girls feel?

Elizabeth: Ladies, I think I kind of take a little bit of a different view of Raid's character. He IS strong, sexy, alpha, tortured and a total jerk at times, but I felt like he also had the ability to enjoy the good moments in life a bit more than some of Kristen's previous heroes. Splage, tell us what you thought, girlie.  We know you like a big, hot, sexy dude!  LOL!!

Splage: Ummm....YEAH!!  Raid had my motor running at full throttle!  He had ALL the typical traits that KA writes so well in her heroes!!  But, I do wish he had to grovel more ;-)  Soooo...can I ask, did you guys think Raid honestly warranted the title of Unfinished Hero? I think people who read the book will have different opinions about it, so I'm curious what you all thought. Personally, I felt like this title fit him perfectly.  He's good and righteous, but he also does criminally bad things without thinking twice about it.  Karla, what'd you think?

Karla: I think he’s a hero already, but he has unfinished business with himself. HA! That may only make sense to me!

Elizabeth: No, I think I get what you mean, Karla. I don't want to get spoilery, but I think everyone will understand what you mean once they've read the book. For me, I think the title fits with regard to some of the people he associates with and, maybe, his actions as they relate to his job. But, I don't think it fits completely, as it did for Knight. 

Steffi: I agree, E. He is definitely an unconventional hero, and the definition of a hero is called into question yet again.  But, to me, he was a hero from the very beginning. Kristen, you're holding out, girl!  Whatcha thinkin'?

Kristen: It can be a tough call.  Raid is such an honorable and admirable man. I do feel he's mislead himself a little, or a lot, about the way he feels justice should be handled, and he's justified his actions.   His intentions are very good, though.  Okay, my turn!  HA!!  I wanna know, did you feel like this was Hanna's book, or was it Raid's?  In my opinion, this is Hanna's story, 100%, and I LOVED that!  Now...just off the top of your head....GO!

Splage: Totally Hanna's story!!

Steffi: That's a hard one...

Karla: Hanna was very much the focal point of this story.

Elizabeth: Naturally, I'm the odd duck out here!  LOL!  I thought there was a good balance In this story, between Hanna and Raid.  Well, I do believe it's MY turn to ask a question!  YES!!  Here's what I'm wondering.  Since most of you felt this was, hands-down, Hanna's book, what did you think of her character overall?  Frankly, I LOVE her!  I found her so refreshing and (in a good way) beguiling.  She's less ballsy than some of Kristen's heroines, and I really enjoyed that!

Steffi: I loved Hanna's softness.  She was sensitive, but at the same time never backed down and stood her ground. I think she is easily one of my favorite KA heroines now.  Splage?  Opinion?  We know you have one :-P

Splage: (shaking her fist) I'll give you my opinion...(lots of laughing).  Seriously, though, Hanna was a sweeter KA heroine, and I did like her gentle nature. She stood up for herself, yes, but she wasn’t a fighter like I wanted her to be.  In the end, when I got more interaction between the two, I loved them together.  Kristen, do you agree?

Kristen: Actually, I adored Hanna! She's now my favorite KA heroine. She was genuine and loving. I would love to be friends with someone like her.  

Karla: Kristen, I agree!  I adored Hanna, as well! Although she was very naïve, she did everything out of love, and had a beautiful heart.  Haha!  My turn!!  Who was your favorite supporting character in Raid?  Hands down… mine was Gram! I mean, what’s not to love? She had wisdom that came with her age, and she'd experienced it, loss, and her advice to Hanna was priceless. I love how she garnered the respect of everyone, but pretty much brought Raid to his knees…no easy task.  Elizabeth, do we have the same favorite, or what?  I bet I know ;-)

Elizabeth: Karla!  As if there could be any other choice??  We're ALL going to choose Gram, aren't we?!?  I adored Hanna's great-grandmother because there were aspects of her, and of their relationship, that reminded me of myself and my own grandmother. Steffi? Fave supporting character?

Steffi: Hanna's grandmother, hands down. She was hilarious and so sweet. I absolutely adored her and, of course, her cat. What a great combo!

Splage: I can't disagree. Grams was my favorite, as well. To be 98 yrs old and still giving sass like a pro, how could she not be a stand out?!  I loved that old biddie. Spot the cat, as her loyal sidekick, also gave me some humorous memories. Kristen? What's your take?

Kristen: By far, Hanna's great-grandmother. She was the shining star of this book! I adored everything about her.  Anyone wondering about other aspects of the story?

Elizabeth: Kristen, I have a question for you guys. Was there any aspect of Hanna and Raid's sex life that made you uncomfortable?  For me, personally, there weren't. I, ahem, rather enjoyed Raid's domineering tendencies in the bedroom.  LOL!!  Karla, am I right??

Karla: Weeelllll.......actually, one scene in particular made me very uncomfortable. I was not crazy about Raid’s submission tactics. But, once that was resolved, their sex life was as passionate as they were about each other, and there is nothing wrong with that.  Surprised you guys, huh? 

Kristen: Kind of, yes, especially because I wasn't bothered by any aspects of their sex life. Wow. Okay, Steffi?  What did you think?

Steffi: I wasn't really bothered, no. I can see how some scenes might be uncomfortable for some readers, but they felt very natural to me.

Splage: Huh. I kind of agree with Karla on this one, actually. There was one scene that wasn’t a turn-on for me. Like Hanna, though, I agree...try everything once. If it doesn’t do it for you, don’t do it again.  It did feel a little out of place though, almost like the sex was trying to be edgier. I'm not sure it accomplished that. It was more of a “what” moment, for me. 
So, I'm wondering, overall, what was everyone's opinion of the story itself?  I thought it had memorable and heartwarming dialog that made my face warm and my heart melt.  My only suggestion would be more SHOWING of the connection building between Hanna and Raid, and less TELLING.

Elizabeth: That's a good point, Splage. Though, I thought the story was great!  It included most of the things that I love about a Kristen Ashley book. The best thing to me though, is when I read one of Kristen's stories; it just feels like coming home. Good or bad, something about her storytelling lights me up inside.

Karla: I like that Kristen Ashley explored another aspect of life, and gave us a tortured hero with an issue that our veterans deal with every day. They look fine on the outside, but are plagued and tormented by the experience of war...and aren't getting the help that they need. It takes a special person to help them deal and to love them.

Kristen: I loved this story, and I had so much fun being in Hanna's world!! Steffi, what about you?

Steffi: I really enjoyed Raid! Yes, the man and the book :-) I heard and felt Kristen Ashley’s voice in Raid, and I was completely happy with the depths and originality of the story.  Hey, girls, I have one last thing.  How did you feel about the epilogue?  Kristen Ashley is so well-loved for her epilogues.  I did enjoy this one, but it wasn't my very favorite.

Splage: Oh, really, Steffi? I think Kristen Ashley writes the perfect epilogue! I was smiling and sobbing with this one. I walk away from every KA book thinking I can’t wait for her next story because I just feel soooo good!

Elizabeth: I wasn't a fan of this epilogue, either.  But, I agree with Splage that I can never wait for Kristen's next book!

Karla:  I loved the epilogue. No matter what anyone might disagree with in the story, Kristen Ashley never disappoints with her epilogue. I think this one brought the story full circle.

Kristen: I LOVED the ending. It was one of Kristen Ashley's best! I was an emotional mess–in a good way– by the end of the epilogue. It was the best feeling ever!!

As the ladies of Swept Away By Romance exit Rachelle's Cafe, they very nearly run head-long into Hanna and Raid...ON A TANDEM BICYCLE!!  I guess we don't have to wonder who REALLY has the power in this relationship ;-) 


To enter the giveaway and win one of those amazing prizes, simply fill out the Rafflecopter down below. The giveaway ends on March 8th:

First prize pack:
Signed Copy of Raid (when it's available in print)
Amazon or $25 gift card
Raid, Knight and Creed E-books

Second prize pack:
Amazon or $10 gift card
Raid, Knight and Creed E-books

Third prize pack:
Amazon or $5 Gift card
Raid, Knight and Creed E-books

Along with e-copies of Raid to 5 additional winners!!!

 Want to know more about Kristen Ashley?

webpage    goodreads    twitter    facebook

Not-so-secret secret: Knight and Creed, the first two books of the Unfinished Heroes series, are ON SALE during the time of the tour for .99 cents!! Can you believe it? No? Check it out here:
Amazon: Knight + Creed

B&N: Knight + Creed

Smashwords: Knight + Creed