Review: With Everything I Am by Kristen Ashley

Posted October 6, 2022 by Kate

Review: With Everything I Am by Kristen AshleyCheck out on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon
Genres: Adult, Dark Romance, Paranormal, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy
Also by this author: Penmort Castle (Ghosts and Reincarnation, #1)
Series: The Three #2
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Source: My shelves

One night, Callum is driven into the woods by instinct, an instinct to protect. In the form of wolf, he meets a young human child who he's instantly drawn to in a fierce way he doesn't quite understand.Sonia Arlington has lived a lonely life. She has certain abilities that make her strange and she has a rare disease that, if untreated, could kill her. Her father makes her vow she'll never let others discover her abilities. This forces Sonia to stay distant, always guarding against exposure.Intelligence leaks that Sonia is Callum's human mate. He is now King of the Werewolves and has war on his hands. He's forced to claim his mate and integrate Sonia into a world that's strange and frightening.As Sonia attempts to adjust, Callum attempts to cope with the knowledge that his mate is mortal. He'll have her beauty and gentleness only the length of a mortal life, making their union unbearably bitter even as Sonia makes it unbelievably sweet.

This… was the most confusing reading session of my life. I feel I need to start by introducing this series, where one of my favorite comfort contemporary authors, Kristen Ashley, wrote a paranormal series. The first book features vampires, the second werewolves, and the third, a hybrid. The first two are very much written along a dark romance bent, usual for KA, but hey, I’ll take it!

KA writes possessive, unbending, alpha guys in general (expressed in various degrees), but this series truly kicks it up a notch, and With Everything I Am even more so. In fact, except for the dark romance “large and in charge” heroes who are literally in some kind of control of the heroine, I’ve never read a book with such a deliberately selfish character. Callum is King of the Werewolves, and he’s found his mate in Sonia, who is a human and unaware of his world. After waiting years for her to grow up from the shadows, he’s forced to make his move when she’s attacked in her home. In rescuing her, he takes her to his home to “court” her.

“But, my wolf, compassion is often mistaken for weakness when the fact is, there is very little that is more powerful than the courage it takes to give it.”

Well as far as she knows, she’s just been kidnapped by a gang leader, based on the phone calls and all of his “bodyguards” he has around, and she’s not allowed to go home. Callum explains nothing. Eventually, he has to make up some bullshit lie about his “culture / secret society” being separate, how he is King of his people, and Sonia is forced to recognize the truth when she learns her parents were allies with this world, and she remembers how his eyes change color. But, hear me, never does she ask how they are different from humans. Callum and his fellow wolves refer to non-wolves as “Humans” to her face, but never does she actually ask why they aren’t humans! I can get behind an oblivious heroine, but for real? She’s kinda dumb, ngl.

Anyway. Callum is impatient. He wants to get this mating over with so he can go back to planning his defense in the upcoming war. In the meantime, Sonia gets no communication from him about his culture, her place in it, and she’s thrust in situations where (as the almost-Queen), she has no idea of the protocol. She just sits in his lap all day, quiet, unhappy, and ashamed. Now, none of this is sexy to me. Callum was never able to put his crown away in the bedroom or when he was with Sonia. He expected his edicts to go through without squabble, and not to have to explain himself. Anytime Sonia tried to speak up, he took this as her wanting “rough play” and off they went.

“I explained to you that I thought that was medieval.”
“Yes, you did. And I believe I told you at that time that it was the way of my people.”
“Yes, and I believe that it was also once the way of my people to treat diseases by using leeches, but they found another way that works a whole lot better, so now they’re doing that.”

Sonia went from being boiling mad all day, frustrated, unhappy, alone… to “you make me whole” once he joins her in bed and… in other places.resented her wishy-washiness when it came to her relationship with Callum. It really took her most of the book to volcano out, and she was treated like shit the whole time! She could not keep her head. I left so many notes in my Kindle, just completely frustrated with both characters.

Honestly, their relationship felt so toxic to me. They find a way to break their own vicious cycle, once they fell in love and Sonia actually realized they were werewolves (for gods sake), but yeesh the getting-there part was atrociousThat said… I kept reading. Their relationship had certainly hooked me, and I was enjoying myself, as much as I was hating many parts of the book. Kristen Ashley has a great writing style, which clearly works out because it kept me going, even when I despaired at both the main characters and a large portion of the plot. Just FREAKING communicate!! UGh. It was all very medieval.

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Also by this author…


Have you read this book? Have you read any other books by Kristen Ashley? Let me know in the comments down below, I’d love to hear from you!

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