Tag: Kristen Ashley

Joint Review: Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley

Posted April 10, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Own the Wind by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee and Holly
Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos MC #1
Also in this series: Own the Wind (Chaos, #1), Own the Wind, Ride Steady, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Free
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 389
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: three-half-stars

Tabitha Allen has a not-so-secret crush on Parker "Shy" Cage. Shy thinks he knows the path Tabby's on and it isn't a good one. So he decides to teach her a lesson to lead her to the right path. Unfortunately, he was wrong and his actions wound Tabby, breaking her heart. It's Tabby who then teaches Shy a lesson about casting judgment and Shy Cage learns what it feels like to be invisible. But when tragedy strikes and Tabby's heart is broken again, Shy does what he can in the background to help. Trying to forget her heartbreak, Tabby finds herself in danger. To keep it secret from her biker family, the Chaos Motorcycle Club, she calls Shy to rescue her. But when she lets him back in, she gets much more than she bargained for.

Own the Wind is book one in Kristen Ashley’s Chaos MC series. It follows Tabitha Allen and Shy Cage. After tragedy struck Tabby’s life, Shy was there to pick up the pieces. The crush she had on him when she was a teenager is nothing compared to the feelings she finds herself starting to have for him. Shy has had his eye on Tabby for years, but she’s the daughter of the MC’s President. Which equals off-limits. Even knowing that, Shy can’t stop what is happening between them and he doesn’t want it to stop.

Tabby and Shy’s relationship gets off to a rocky start, but eventually they realize they were made for each other. That realization doesn’t come easily to either of them. They both have faults and trying to mesh their lives isn’t as easy as they thought it would be. There are ups and downs, but in the end, they preserved.

Casee: This book. I don’t even know where to start. Seriously I have so many feels. My biggest feel is confusion. Confusion as to why I loved this book. Absolutely and completely loved it. Shy was such a jerk, but I adored him. Adored every single part of him. Why? I’m reading the second book in the series right now and I still don’t understand it. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times you tell me.

Holly: Welcome to the dark side. KA is so hard to pin down for me. She’s overly descriptive and her grammar often kills me, but I get so wrapped up in her stories I can’t stop reading her.

Own the Wind is the first book released with Forever, and I think it’s one of her better books in terms of editing. When I first read it I remember thinking it had all the things I love, but a lot of what bothers me about her writing was cleaned up. She’ll always be KA, and that’s okay since what she does works so well, but this book is more polished than some of her others.

Casee: More polished? That scares me since I plan to read her backlist. But it won’t stop me.

What threw me about KA is how I could be thrown from one side to the other so quickly. For example…When Tab was telling Shy that he had to start helping around the house because she wasn’t going to do everything for him. I mean, come on. Man up. I was like, “You go, girl. Tell him how it is,”. Shy wasn’t having any of it and I started getting so mad, like WTAF. Then Shy told Tab why he wouldn’t be doing certain things around the house and I was all “Awww”. My emotions can’t handle that. It literally happened in five seconds. Who else can write like that?

Holly: No one I know. She’s a master at tugging my emotions in all different directions.

Speaking of Shy and Tabby..I adored them together. They were such a wonderful couple. I was concerned when the book first started since Tabby was so young, but I thought Ashley did a good job of advancing the timeline. I really felt for Tabby the first few chapters. Watching her come back from her grief with Shy’s help was lovely. I also loved how loyal to him she was. When she stood up to her step-mom, dad and the entire club for him? My heart melted.

Casee: I loved reading about how their relationship evolved. They were friends first. Shy helped her through such a difficult time in her life without expecting anything in return. That’s one of the reason he was such an incredible hero. The entire time they had a platonic relationship, he had no clue if there would ever be anything between them. He was just a good person in general (even though he could be an ass).

Even with all the dropping of the “g’s”, which drove me insane at first, I give this a 4.25. What about you?

Holly: Their progression from enemies to friends to lovers was wonderful. I loved how it was them against the world. When Shy gave her his speech about (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Shit is going to get bad out there, but we’ll be fine as long as we’re together” I got all melty.

There are definitely issues with the characters, the story and the writing, but they’re overshadowed by all the good. KA never fails to pull me in and I adore Shy and Tabby. I’m giving it 4.25 as well.

Final Grades

Casee: 4.25 out of 5
Holly: 4.25 out of 5

Chaos


four-stars


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Review: Free by Kristen Ashley

Posted February 15, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Free by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Holly
Free by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos MC #6
Also in this series: Own the Wind (Chaos, #1), Own the Wind, Ride Steady, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Own the Wind
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 570
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-stars
Series Rating: three-half-stars

Through good times, bad times and times of war, Cole “Rush” Allen grew up in the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Along this journey, he watched his father, Tack, and his MC brothers fight, sweat, bleed and die to steer the Club to legitimacy.

And they’ve got one more battle on their hands.

A battle they have to win.

But when Rush meets the woman who put herself right in the thick of it, he knows he has to stop at nothing to get her out.

Rebel Stapleton has lost someone she loves to murder and she’s the kind of woman who’s going to do something about it. She puts her career on the line, and her life, to bring the man who did it to justice.

That is, she does this until Rush Allen intervenes.

Chaos is at war and they’re about to face the ultimate showdown. They’ll have to negotiate skeletons from the past, enemies becoming allies, and loved ones in the line of fire on their ride to be…

Free.

Free is the 6th and final book in the Chaos MC series by Kristen Ashley. I’ve been anxiously awaiting Rush’s book, since 1) I wanted to see how things were cleared up with their long-time rivals and 2) I loved Rush in earlier books and wanted to see where he was going to take things. We hadn’t met his heroine prior to this book, so she was an unknown.

Cole “Rush” Allen is a member of the Chaos MC. His dad, Tack, is the current president. Tack really cleaned the club up and mostly brought them into the light, but Rush wants to finish the job and get them completely away from anything even remotely illegal. With several old enemies and a couple new ones making themselves known, that’s harder than it seems. Especially since bodies keep piling up – and literal skeletons are floating around. When he meets Rebel Singleton, he knows immediately that he wants her. But Rebel is playing a dangerous game – going undercover in a porn op to find dirt on a mobster – and Rush doesn’t want her wrapped up in that mess. Convincing her to walk away and keeping her safe may be more than he can handle…

It took me forever to read this book. There were so many point-of-view changes and unnecessary content, it didn’t hold my attention. I don’t know why we needed to see so much from so many different characters. We had chapters from 3 villains, 2 extra characters who ended up dying, several characters from previous books and a couple surprise ones at the end. At 570 pages, this novel was already a beast. If half of that had been cut back, it would have been better for it.

I haven’t cared much for Benito Valenzuela’s (the mobster guy) storyline throughout this series. He’s a pretty ridiculous villain and I had little interest in seeing how things played out with him. Nothing we saw about him or from him in this book changed my mind. I don’t even know why the final bit from his POV was included in the epilogue. It was ridiculous.

View Spoiler »

I enjoyed Rush and Rebel as a couple, and I actually really liked the secondary storyline with Beck, but the rest was pretty ridiculous. I’m not going to lie, I’m disappointed this is how the series ended.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Chaos


two-stars


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Joint Review: Complicated by Kristen Ashley

Posted January 10, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 8 Comments

Joint Review: Complicated by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Complicated by Kristen Ashley

Publication Date: November 7th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 571
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

When small town Nebraska sheriff Hixon Drake meets Greta Dare, the connection couldn’t be stronger, but the timing couldn’t be worse.

Dealing with the fallout of a divorce he never wanted and setting up a new home for his kids, Hix becomes that guy, that one he never wanted to be, and puts a stop to things before they can even start. Protecting his kids, and himself, is his only priority.

Greta, on the other hand, has found the place for her and the brother she adores that’s perfect for them—a sleepy little town in Nebraska. She’s learned from life that there are no hopes and dreams. The only thing to look forward to is peace. And that’s what she works hard to build for herself and her brother. Right up until Hix walks into her life.

Hix can’t fight the pull and stay away from Greta for long. And Greta’s finding it hard not to hope for something more with all the promise that is Hix.

But when the first murder that’s happened in over five decades rocks his small, sleepy county, Hix has got to learn to trust again, convince Greta to take a shot with him, and at the same time catch a killer.

In other words, things are definitely…Complicated.

Complicated by Kristen Ashley follows Hixton Drake and Greta Dare as they fall in love amidst a lot of small-town drama, a murder, a jealous ex and lots of other complications that get in the way of them being them. Hixton is dealing with a divorce that he didn’t want and Greta has her own fair share of life worries that keep her busy but they’re drawn to each other over and over again and sometimes, you can’t walk away from that connection. Not when it’s probably best.

Rowena: Alright, so it took me a while to read this book because that page count? Holy cow, KA books are so long but even with all of those pages to get through, I enjoyed this one. I thought it was a sweet romance and I really liked Greta. And Hix. Mostly, Greta though.

What did you think?

Holly: KA can definitely be long winded. This book could have been cut down by at least 100 pages, maybe 200.

Rowena: I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t read very many of KA’s books but I seemed to have enjoyed this one a lot more than most of the readers that I know who have read it. Sure, it was hella long, but I was still invested in everything that was going on and I really enjoyed getting to know Hix, Greta and everyone else. From Lou and her girls, Andy and then Hix’s kids (especially Shaw), I loved everyone…except Hope. I hated her until I didn’t hate her but I never really liked her.

Holly: I didn’t dislike it, but it isn’t KA’s best. I prefer it when KA books have more angst. Wasn’t Shaw great, though? I loved him. He was such an awesome kid. I wouldn’t mind if KA wrote a book for him later.

Rowena: Yeah, I can see what you mean. That’s exactly what Ames said about the book. She wants more angst too. Yes! Shaw was fantastic. You know, he kind of reminded me of your son. Very stand up and just sweet all around. Total good kid and you know that they’re going to grow up to be a great guy. I wouldn’t mind getting a book for Shaw, too. Down the road though. He needs to go and be a Marine and learn how to be a man.

Holly: I do have a pretty great son. 🙂 I agree Shaw needs to grow up first, but some day in the future I’d be interested in his book.

Hope was an idiot. Why she let Hix get away is a total mystery to me.

Rowena: The whole Hope thing, goodness, how stupid was she? It really spoke to the kind of person that Hix was that so many of his kids wanted to live with him and not his mean ass ex-wife. I loved how Greta had a fan club and a support system in her customers and friends. She was really lucky though it wasn’t hard to see why they were so loyal to her. She earned their respect and their loyalty so Hope’s plan to destroy her totally backfired and I loved seeing Hope fall on her ass.

Holly: I loved that the town rallied behind Greta even though they were pulling for Hix and Hope in the beginning. Every time Lou announced one of them switched to Greta’s side I snickered. I do like that Hope was quasi-redeemed in the end. Ashley is good at that.

I really liked Greta. She was great all the way around. Sure of herself, caring and compassionate, willing and able to stick up for herself. I loved how she took care of her brother and her friends.

Rowena: I thought Greta was great too. I loved how she took care of everyone, including Hix. I loved that she was sure in the person that she was and didn’t need Hix to be around all the time. She was understanding of his situation and wasn’t afraid to get her some when she could without needing an engagement ring. She was a strong, independent woman and I really liked her.

Holly: Her teasing Hix and making him food was so cute. Her independence was one of her best qualities. She didn’t need to be with Hix all the time. She was happy to do her own thing.

What did you think of her ex?

Rowena: Greta’s ex was meh to me. I felt more for her Mom than him. I felt a lot of rage where her Mom was concerned but for Keith? Meh.

Holly: The bits with Greta’s ex could have been cut completely. I don’t even know why that scene was included. OMG, don’t get me started on her mom, though. That crazy bitch needed to get smacked upside the head. By Greta.

Rowena: I really enjoyed getting to know Andy and I really loved how complex Greta’s feelings were for Andy, who he could and should have been but still loving who he is now. Greta was damn near perfect, don’t you think?

Holly: I thought Greta’s feelings about her brother and his situation were so authentic. Her joy in his personality, along with her sadness over what he could have been. My heart broke for them both. You’re right, she was damn near perfect, wasn’t she? Well, except what a terrible loser she was when she and Hix wrestled. haha

Hix was…not the best KA hero. Usually her heroes are great, but he didn’t really stand out. I kind of felt like it wasn’t necessarily Greta for him, but any woman would have done. He needed someone to care for. She just happened to be the one.

Rowena: I enjoyed Hix. I enjoyed that he tried to do the right thing for his loved ones and while he’s not my favorite KA hero, he’s not my least favorite either. I liked the way that he took care of everyone. He was sexy as hell, too. Yum.

Overall, this book was great fun for me. I liked that this story fit the title so well. I liked seeing Greta and Hix fall in love (and I totally believed that Hix was drawn and then fell in love with Greta). I liked seeing Hix’s kids develop a relationship with Greta and I liked seeing the two of them come into their own…together. They fit together well and their romance was sweet and I dug the whole thing. I give it a 4 out of 5. You?

Holly: I loved the town, I loved Greta and her brother, I liked Hix and the romance between them. Overall this was a good read. Not KA’s best, but it was entertaining. I’m giving it a 3.5 out of 5

Final Ratings

Holly’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Rowena’s Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Play it Safe by Kristen Ashley

Posted December 15, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Play it Safe by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Holly
Play It Safe by Kristen Ashley
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 487
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

No connections. Play it safe. These were the rules Ivey lived her life by.

Until she hit Mustang, Colorado, a perfectly imperfect town where the citizens were welcoming and one of them included the tall, beautiful, macho man rancher cowboy, Grayson Cody.

On the run for a decade, Ivey knew she was supposed to play it safe. But she was tired of being on the run. She wanted a normal. She wanted real. She wanted a home.

And she wanted Grayson Cody.

And Grayson Cody wanted Ivey.

No one who looked at them couldn’t see they belonged together. There was one man in this world for Ivey and one woman in this world for Grayson Cody.

So they fell in love.

But just as quickly as they fell together, they were betrayed and torn apart. Separated for years, Ivey was certain her life would not include her rancher cowboy. Until the town of Mustang reached out to her when Gray was in trouble. Even though she thought he broke her heart, she charged in to help. Then Gray and Ivey discovered they were betrayed and, not only that, Gray had an enemy who would stop at nothing to defeat him.

I just want to start by saying, that blurb is a hot mess. I trust Ashley as an author, but I still avoided reading this book for years because of that blurb. I downloaded the Kindle version with the audio add-on so I’d have something to listen to at work. I’m not a big audiobook person because I don’t like how slow they move. I adjusted the speed to 1.5x, however, and that really helped. I liked the narrator for this one.

Ivey and her brother Casey have been on the run for ten years, trying to escape a bad home life. Now 22, she makes a living as a pool hustler. When they land in a small Colorado town and she meets Gray, for the first time in her life she wants to stay put and form connections. The entire town adopts her as their own and she and Gray fall into each other pretty quickly. Ivey knows he’s the one for her, and Gray seems to feel the same. When her brother shows up and says they’re both in danger, Ivey leaves to protect Gray, but someone is conspiring against Gray and they play things so Ivey thinks he betrayed her.

7 years later Gray is in a bad spot financially. He’s about to lose his ranch. Ivey is now a Vegas showgirl with wealthy friends, so when she gets word she bails him out. Which is when they realized they were played. Unfortunately, the threat to Gray still exists. Rediscovering their love becomes a lot harder when they’re faced with constant danger….

Parts of this book moved slow, but I really enjoyed the small town and the romance. The cast of secondary characters was just as delightful as always. I thought the suspense plot was silly and the villain over the top, but I loved the way the story moved in and out of their lives.

Though this isn’t my favorite of Ashley’s works, I really enjoyed it. The audio made me want to search out some of her others to see how they compare.

3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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PSA: Authors, Don’t Spoil It!

Posted October 31, 2017 by Holly in Discussions | 1 Comment

For years friends have been trying to talk me into watching Game of Thrones. My husband and I binge-watch shows regularly, but neither of us were really that interested in GoT. Finally, Ames and Rowena talked me into starting it.

Normally I’m all about spoilers. I don’t mind if I see or hear things about a show I’m currently watching or plan to watch (or books I’m reading or plan to read). My husband, on the other hand, hates spoilers. He won’t even watch the next episode preview because he doesn’t want to know.

We both went into GoT without really knowing anything about it. I didn’t pay attention to any of the posts about it over the years and neither did my husband. So I figured, what the hell, there are a lot of twists and turns, I’m going to avoid all spoilers. Y’all, it’s hard avoiding spoilers when you’re 6 seasons behind in a series and the current season finale is just airing, but I managed. I didn’t see a single thing that spoiled who lives and who dies, what intrigues were afoot, or anything else. It was like we were watching it in real time.

Until I read The Time in Between by Kristen Ashley. My husband and I had just finished Season 2, but there was a major spoiler for something that happens at the end of Season 3.

The spoiler was a huge one, detailing the events of one of the major events in the show (what happens at the end of “The Rains of Castamere” episode, aka The Red Wedding). And it was just casually mentioned on page as a throwaway comment. The hero and heroine were watching the show and bam, the hero throws out a major spoiler, no big deal (except it was a big deal, y’all! It really was).

Authors, please don’t spoil real-life shows in your fiction books. When I whined about this on Twitter, someone said “To be fair, that spoiler is four seasons old”. 1) I don’t care. A spoiler is a spoiler. 2) The show is still running, so there are a lot of people just starting it. 3) I avoided spoilers like the plague only to be innocently blindsided while reading a novel, ffs. That is not okay.

So, once again, here’s a friendly PSA from your local book blogger: AUTHORS, DON’T SPOIL REAL LIFE SHOWS IN YOUR FICTION NOVELS!

via GIPHY


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