Review: Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley

Review: Mystery Man by Kristen AshleyMystery Man by Kristen Ashley

Series: #1 Dream Man
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Forever on July 12, 2011
Pages: 512
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three-half-stars  

For some reason, the idea of a gal letting a guy sneak into her bedroom with no idea who he is or even what his name is for a year and half just grabbed my curiosity to the point that I just had to read the book.  My mind was telling me that such a thing would not endear the heroine to me, but curiosity won out (don’t ask me why I found it so compelling at the time because I can’t explain all my reading urges).

Now that I’ve sated my curiosity and read the whole book (I say this because I wanted to set it aside a few times), I have to say that I’m on the fence about this one.  There are things I liked and things I found rather irritating.

Gwendolyn Kidd is a single gal with three great friends, a work from home job editing books, a recently purchased Money Pit of a home, a delinquent sister, and a Mystery Man lover (MM with the capital ‘M’s).  Gwen has been carrying on with a guy she met in a bar while drunk for over a year and a half.  He started sneaking into her house and her bed in the middle of the night and because he’s a great kisser she never has the nerve to challenge him to reveal more or kick him out.  Things are going along as usual until her jerk of a sister gets involved in something so deep and dangerous that it spills into Gwen’s life.  Suddenly Gwen is involved with a tough biker gang leader, a hot police detective and Mystery Man who is hotter than ever as all worked to protect her from the trouble Ginger got her family into.

This plot was over the top almost the entire read from cover to cover.  At times, I found it vastly amusing and at others I just couldn’t, couldn’t believe it.  The stuff that Ginger stirred up and set in motion was probably the strongest part of the book for me.  Unfortunately, that was a side plot.

The book is told from Gwen’s point of view and I give the author kudos because the writing style, pace and tone of the story really got me right inside Gwen’s head- a very distractable, verbose head.  The trouble is that while it impressed me how well the author immersed me in her heroine; I found that said heroine was a flake.  I found her hilarious (because I laugh sometimes at things that I don’t find funny on all levels), but I also found her the most annoying person on the planet.  There are a few words or phrases if heard in any context whatsoever from now on will make me twitch with annoyance.  I don’t want to hear ‘cookie dough’, ‘little black dress’ or ‘cute shoes’ for a long time.  I will be fair and admit that fashionable things are appreciated, but not high on my list of priorities.  Unlike Gwen Sister, you will not see me trying to pick up paying projects and extra hours to get the latest pair of Jimmy Choos or yet one more skimpy black dress when my home is still half-gutted.  While Gwen loves her family and friends and she has a decent heart, she is one to get hot and heavy over shiny things.  She notices in detail what people wear, drive and how they decorate their homes, but she gets vague about people’s character, motives or thinking before acting first.  To be fair, Hawk, the Mystery Man hero, wasn’t entirely an easy guy to be around either.  I don’t blame her for not giving him her trust right away especially since she didn’t even know his name after having sex with him for over a year (this was definitely one of the over the top things though its what got my attention in the first place), but she also doesn’t really pay attention to some huge clues about herself or Hawk either.  She got burned by an ex-husband- Badly and he has a reputation and a past so slow going is important.

Now at the same time that Gwen made me rant for several sentences, there was something about her that kept me from tossing the story aside and giving up.  I liked how she did the best she could for her sister even though Ginger wasn’t deserving, I enjoyed who she was with her friends and parents, and I thought Hawk when he got things sorted was a good fit for her and would help her sort stuff out too.  I felt sorry for her many times when her good intentions were wasted or that she took the fall for what was clearly not her fault.  It’s like she was a trouble magnet.

So like I said, it was a difficult book for me because I’m pulled in two directions about how I feel.  I’m going to recommend this to those who love uber Alpha heroes, heroines that get into trouble without trying, hot passion and dangerous situations.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.