Series: Unfinished Hero #5
on January 11th, 2016
Genres: Alpha Male, Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon
Nick Sebring has issues. Born feeling like an outsider in his own family, growing up under the shadow of a brother who could do anything, Nick isnÔÇÖt that great of a guy. But when this culminates with Nick lashing out to hurt his brother through the woman he loves, Nick turns inward and makes some decisions about the man he intends to be.
And as he does this, he falls in love and truly learns the man that heÔÇÖs grown to be.
When his love is murdered right before NickÔÇÖs eyes, Nick knows he has to avenge her. He knows how heÔÇÖs going to avenge her. And he has no qualms using Olivia Shade to exact that vengeance.
Olivia Shade has grown up on the outside of her family too. Her problem is that they donÔÇÖt want her outside. They want her all the way in, right under their thumbs. She pays the price for seeking escape and learns her lessonÔÇösheÔÇÖll never see a dawn where she wakes up free.
Then she meets Nick Sebring, and even as she fights it, the hope that died years ago starts to blossom. She can find love. She can have a man of her own. She can be happy. She can be free.
Olivia hopes while Nick schemes.
However, as Nick peels back the layers of all that is Olivia Shade, he finds something surprising. He understands its fragility. He falls in love with its beauty. He seeks to protect it.
But he forgets to protect his Livvie from one thing: Nick Sebring.
ÔØä ÊëÔÇ┐Ô×╣ÔüÇÔØå Buddy Read ÔØä ÊëÔÇ┐Ô×╣ÔüÇÔØå
Here at @OUAPblog we bond over our #BuddyReads (we really are #BRBesties) With 4 of us, its more common than not that we have the same favorite authors and one-click series. Plus, there’s really nothing like sharing in angst. Afterall, misery loves company. And while we try to read at the same time, sometimes that just doesn’t work out. In the case of Kristen Ashley’s final book in the “Unfinished Hereoes Series”, Sebring, we started and finished with a few days gap and decided maybe its best to interview each other on what we thought.
Now, we have to warn you, there are some spoilers below. We just couldn’t help ourselves, so up front we’ll say our ratings are 4 star and 4.5 stars, and OF COURSE we recommend it.
Anja: Let’s start of with what we liked most about Sebring?
I have to say I loved Nick and Olivia together. Not only was their chemistry explosive, they also made each other happy. I’m a huge fan of Olivia’s. Her childhood, the environment she lived in, and the abuse she suffered might have broken her, but it didn’t shatter her all the way. She might have given up hope for a better life, but she didn’t succumb to the depression completely. It didn’t destroy her. She kept on goingÔÇöshe prevailed. Despite it all, deep down in her core she’s a strong woman.
Cyndi: Oh yes, I agree with you Anja. They are so lovely together. Nick melted me with the way he treats her when they are simply hanging out together. It feels like it must be Olivia’s first exposure to a normal day to day existence, being with someone who works so hard to make her happy. I can’t imagine the loneliness that is her life. And then when they take a short vacation together, Olivia happiness and sense of belonging is stunning.┬á
Cyndi: Okay, what do you think about NickÔÇödid he belong with the rest of the heroes in the “Unfinished Hero Series”?
Anja: He does, in some ways. I think, the one person who was “bad” or “shady” in this one, however, unlike with some of the other in the series, was Olivia, not Nick. Yes, Nick had a shady past. He used to do drugs, was involved in some nasty business in order to bring down the bad guys, but he learned his lesson. Therefore, I think this was more about Olivia being the ÔÇ£Unfinished HeroÔÇØ instead of Nick. It reminds me of Creed, where I think the focus was more on Sylvie as being the unfinished hero too.
Cyndi: Yes, I had a hard time reconciling her involvement in “the life” from her POV. But I agree, in this case she WAS the Unfinished Hero.
Anja: Exactly my thoughts. She was way more involved in any shady business, whether she wanted to or not.
Naturally, this led us to contemplate Nick + Olivia + Family
Cyndi: His family was surprisingly open to herÔÇöbut then I remember that Knight’s Business is not very honorable either.
Anja: Yes! I was surprised how open Knight and Anya were. But then it was more Nick who was doing something to ultimately hurt Olivia, not the other way around, and Knight knew it.
Cyndi: What did you think about her relationship with her sister?
Anja: That relationship was pretty fucked up. I couldn’t quite tell whether or not they loved one another. I know on some level they must haveÔÇöthey were family after all. But then the sister would pull some stuff, making me wonder. I was glad once Olivia realized what her sister truly was like┬á and let go of her attachment and sense of duty to her.
Cyndi: Oh my, yes. Georgie was just as shitty to Olivia as the father wasÔÇöstanding by while he beat her.
Anja: Exactly. And Tommy! What a jerk not defending her!
Cyndi: Yeah, I feel like they (Georgie and Tommy) were so disconnected from reality. But then, it’s just their reality is SO different.
Anja: Yeah, I guess for them this was normal… It’s just hard for us to connect with them on that level.
Cyndi: I felt so horrible for LivvieÔÇöher family. Honestly, I was surprised she didn’t go on the run.
Anja: Same here! Her family was the WORST! Though, I think if this life is all you know since you can remember, and the one time you tried to escape you got in trouble for it, that would anyone make compliant. She gave up after what they did to her when she was 25. She lost hope for a different life.
Cyndi: She was smarter than she even gave herself credit for, but weak and broken by the shit they fed her. Talk about being cowed over.
Anja: I think she knew she was smart, it was just the one time she tried she couldnÔÇÖt outsmart them, so she figured she is going to stick to watch she’s good atÔÇökeeping the books and her mouth shut. It’s fucked up, but understandable to some degree.
Olivia, the princess
Cyndi: Livvie has these expectations of how people will react. Do you think they are realistic or does she set herself up to be disappointed?
Anja: I think it’s human to expect people to act a certain way, based on what we are used to or would do ourselves. Olivia was used to people leaving and not giving a shit about her. So I guess her expecting Nick to do the same was only logical on her end.
Cyndi: Some more thoughts about the plot and the writing: You know I LOVE Kristen Ashley, but there were a few things that didnÔÇÖt sit right.
Anja: I do too! Unfortunately, I have to say, while the writing itself is still amazing, sometimes I donÔÇÖt need as much detail as we get about the houses or clothes they wear, this is getting tedious over time. But this will NOT deter me from reading more written by The Queen.
Cyndi: Well, I REALLY struggled with Nicks Alpha Speak.
Anja: How come? What bothered you about it?
Cyndi: ItÔÇÖs hard to explain, but I had the impression of Nick being more…refined. The way he spoke, he could have been any other Alpha. Usually, I feel like they have their own voice or sayings. Unfortunately, the one thing that made Nick distinctive and that should have been sexy(ish), ┬ájust wasnÔÇÖt.
Anja: Yes, I know what you mean. I loved Nick, but he seemed more sophisticated in Knight, and then in Sebring he was like all the other possessive, domineering, blunt alphas. I didnÔÇÖt think Nick had his own voice to be honest. He was too similar to Raid and DeaconÔÇöthe way he talked and behaved.
Cyndi: They were fucking sexy too. They really did have a strong sexual/sensual relationship.
Anja: They sure did! The sex scenes were HOT!
Cyndi: Yes, the sex scenes were well done, but Kristen Ashley usually does them well.
Anja: Yes! The sex scenes were awesome. I think the ones in Sebring were some of her best.
Cyndi: OliviaÔÇÖs strong need to control comes close to crossing the Alpha Dom trait, which I think was key to how sexy it was.
Nick, the Heartbreaker (pt. 1)
Cyndi: What did you think about her buying him the painting? She was definitely trying to “remind” him what he walked away from. And boy, he was a chicken shitÔÇöhe couldn’t even tell her straight up what was going on.
Anja: Olivia buying the painting was definitely an intriguing way to tell him what he was missing out on. I didnÔÇÖt understand her doing it though. It seemed out of character. She was always so adamant about leaving once he is done, not getting attached, protecting him from everything that is her. So I didnÔÇÖt understand her reasoning behind the painting. It felt more like a plot device than something Olivia would do, not in accordance to her character.
What did you think about the painting?
Cyndi: Agree, it kind of surprised me she would buy it for him. I think it was a test. If he accepted it and responded, maybe it gave her a sense of hope. And if he didn’t, she knew to move on. It was a way for her to make him “talk”.
Anja: That makes sense… One last ditch effort to grab hold of the hope he gave her with both hands… without actually talking to him in person.
Nick, the Heartbreaker (pt. 2)
Cyndi: Oh God, and the way she found out about Nick…What did you think about that? I thought it was so symbolic. Beat to shit physically, finding out about her familyÔÇÖs nefarious plans for her life, the mental anguish, and then the emotional bomb. In one day, she was physically, mentally, and emotionally destroyed.
Anja: Holy shit! That was brutal! I felt so bad for her. It all came at her at the same time. No wonder her spirit was crushed. But again, we did all see it coming when Nick wouldn’t tell her what was going on. He should have known better.
Nick, the Heartbreaker (pt. 3)
Cyndi: After he broke her heart, I was surprised he disappeared for MONTHS. That’s maybe where I thought she was smart, could have pulled it off and gotten away.
Anja: I know. I was too. He was gone for months and she just existed. I would have run as well because what would it have matter? It couldn’t get worse. But, I get her not running too. Nick crushed the last of her spirit. There was no will left in her after. I think if he didnÔÇÖt come back, she would have just been there physically, waiting for the day she diedÔÇöexisting, but not living.
Cyndi: She was betrayed by EVERYONE. Her self-esteemÔÇöwell, she had none.
Anja: Yeah! There wasnÔÇÖt much of a personality before Nick showed up and let her be herself. He made it save for her to be the real Olivia. And while she appeared to be this strong, confident woman who was in control all the time, it was an illusionÔÇöan illusion only Nick was able to see past to the real her.
Getting to the epic KA epilogue
Cyndi: ┬áDid it feel like it (the story) went from ÔÇ£Olivia in her shut down/emotionless modeÔÇØ to ÔÇ£forgivenessÔÇØ too fast? Did the reality of her life/switch finally hit her?
Anja: ┬áThis is a tricky question. I think in any other book, the forgiveness part would have been too quick for me. But with the circumstances Olivia was presented with, there was no other choice for her to make the decision quick. Nick gave her hope once again by showing her what he wants to give her: freedom. The one thing she would do just about anything for. And due to the manner in with all this went down, she had to decide within a heartbeat. I think because deep down Olivia was a romantic and never actually gave up on hope, it was easy for her to forgive him once she realizes she was genuinely trying to save her.
Cyndi: Not too odd that she leaves with Knight, Deacon, and the others? ┬áShe was still so fucked up in her head about him. She trusted these ÔÇÿninjaÔÇÖ opponents more than she trusted Georgie (rightfully so, but still).
Anja: Well, Knight was Nick’s brother, so that automatically builds a foundation of trust, right? Also, she did know Deacon, or at least heard of him. And Sylvie, well Sylvie is Sylvie. I think she manages to make anyone trust her. But I agree with what you’re saying. It says a lot about her family and her that she trusted mostly strangers more than the people she grew up with.
Cyndi: Yes, maybe she realized she can take the chance because her life was SHIT, and couldnÔÇÖt get much worse. I love how happy he made her.
Anja: Me too! Loved how happy they made each other in the end.
Unfortunately, I felt like we were missing something in the end. Between the last chapter and the epilogue. It went from ÔÇ£shit went downÔÇØ to all was ÔÇ£perfect and peacefulÔÇØ. I wish we got some more ÔÇ£meatÔÇØ in between. Their problems were resolved too quickly.
Cyndi: YES, all of a sudden her sister was on the run.
Anja: Yeah, the resolution was too sudden and I was left reeling to catch up. That was my main issue with the book… I felt bereft of some of the story.
Cyndi: I actually flipped back, thought I fell asleep and flipped through pages.
Anja: It did feel like that, didn’t it?
Series Finale and Epilogue
Anja: And lastly, how did you like Sebring as the conclusion to this series?
Cyndi: Well, I can’t see any other story that needs telling. You? Are you missing someone elseÔÇÖs ending?
I love the epilogues, but I wanted more for Knight, Creed, Raid, and Deacon. They weren’t long enough.
Anja: I liked Nick as the last one in the series. I think his story made the perfect conclusion. But I agree, I wanted more of the epiloguesÔÇömore on each couple. I felt a little deprived, but then I could always use more of our KA heroes. Especially Creed and Sylvie, my favorites in this series.
Cyndi: Final score? It wasn’t my favorite and I’m terrible in that KA almost always gets a 5 stars from me, but I’m going to give this a 4.5. You?
Anja: KA is always a top favorite too. And I immensely enjoyed reading Sebring. It was entertaining, heartbreaking, funny, sweet, and endearing. I give this 4 stars.
~Review by Anja & Cyndi