Review: The Deep End by Kristen Ashley

Review:  The Deep End by Kristen AshleyThe Deep End by Kristen Ashley
Published by St. Martin's Griffin March 7th, 2017
Genres: Erotica, Erotica Romance
Pages: 454
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author: At Peace
Amazon US
Goodreads

Enter a decadent sensual world where gorgeous alpha males are pleasure slaves committed to fulfilling a woman's every desire. At the elite Honey club, no boundary will be left untested, and one's darkest desires will become a sensual reality.

Olivier isn’t sure what he’s gotten himself into when he joins the Honey Club, only that a dark part of him craves the lifestyle offered by this secret, exclusive club.

When Amèlie invites Olivier to surrender, she pushes him to explore his deepest desires as a submissive. As they grow closer and find themselves falling harder than either of them anticipated, the truth about Olivier’s past could threaten the budding relationship they both long for.

Gripping and seductive, The Deep End is the first book in a sensational new series from bestselling author Kristen Ashley

I’m going to tell you a secret.   I totally signed up for an ARC of this book without even reading the blurb.  All I knew is that it was written by Kristen Ashley, and it was erotica.  

That’s it.

And then right before I started to read it, I checked on Goodreads to see what was being said so far…and that’s when I learned that the premise behind The Deep End was a Domme female, and an alpha male who is her submissive.

I was so surprised, and maybe a wee bit hesitant.  I’ve read a handful of male sub books and I can only remember ONE where I was able to connect to the characters and enjoy the story line.  And really, typical romance glorifies male characters dominating in the bedroom…  and this is the opposite.  

Reviews were mixed on GR, and I was even more hesitant.  But I jumped in… and I’m actually really glad I did.

Let me start by saying this…  if you’re going to read this book because you’re a huge KA fan and you love her writing style (quirky heroines, mega-alpha males, tons of silly shenanigans), and that’s the only reason… DON’T.   Her writing in this book is very, very different from her previous work.  If your expectations are to get a Rock Chick story, you will be so incredibly disappointed.  (Actually, if I didn’t know this book was by Kristen Ashley, I would have thought it was a new story from Ella Frank.  Have you read her Masters Among Monsters series?!  I swear the writing style is SO CLOSE to that.  It’s a bit different and can take time to really get the hang of the flow and connect to the character’s voice.  But once you do, you’re there and it’s magical.)

BUT, if your mind is open to a different writing style from her, and you’re into erotica and BDSM stories… DO IT!

Any hesitation I had about KA  portraying an alpha sub male was obliterated.  Trust me, a man can be a submissive and still be alpha.  He can still test his dom and try to have authority inside and outside the bedroom.  The book has a ton of sex… and I really, really liked it.  It was good BDSM, if that makes sense.  You can really tell when an author has either first hand experience or has truly researched that community when you read BDSM books, and KA’s scenes are phenomenally executed.

Overall, I think it was a very sexy story.  I really enjoyed the entire club she has her characters in, and I really liked a lot of the secondary cast.  I can see so much potential for following books, because the characters are interesting, mysterious, sexy and witty.

There were times I had trouble connecting to the characters as a couple, and there was some lingo used a lot that I didn’t love, but as an overall story I think it was good and I’m glad KA is dipping her toes into the erotica genre.   If you like BDSM and hot sex…  definitely give it a  try.

 

 

About Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.


read more

Blog Tour: Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley [Review, Excerpt + Giveaway]

Blog Tour: Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley [Review, Excerpt + Giveaway]Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley
Series: Fantasyland #5
Published by Kristen Ashley August 15, 2016
Genres: Romance, Fantasy
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also in this series: Wildest Dreams
Also by this author: At Peace
Amazon US

Against his will, Noctorno Hawthorne, an undercover vice cop, finds himself embroiled in magic, mayhem and parallel universes. Too late, he meets an amazing woman only to find she’s destined for his identical twin in another world.

And things aren’t going real great there.

Noc is recruited to help save that world.

What he doesn’t know is his destined love resides there.

Franka Drakkar wears a mask. A mask she never takes off to protect herself in a world of malice, intrigue and danger.

When Franka meets Noc and he discovers her secrets, convinced she carries a midnight soul, having shielded herself from forming bonds with anyone, she struggles with accepting his tenderness and care.

When Noc meets Franka, over wine and whiskey, her mask slips and Noc knows it’s her—only her—and he has to find a way to get her to come home with him.

And then make her want to stay.

While I was excited to jump back into this otherworldly place with magical creatures and epic fairytale romances, I was also hesitant to bid adieu to a world that I fell for hard and fast. I mean, who seriously enjoys saying goodbye to a world and characters they have fallen in love with? Not I. But even with a bit of a resistance, I dived in whole heartedly into Midnight Soul and discovered that even villains can be redeemed and find their own HEA.

The choice of having Franka Drakkar as the heroine for the final installment of this series was a bit of a peculiar choice, in my opinion, since Franka has pretty much been that villainous bitch from the very beginning. While I enjoyed her as a villain, I personally wasn’t sure how much I would like her as a lead. But once I started reading, I grew more and more intrigued and wanted to know more about what made her such a stone-cold, black-hearted bitch. I think villains are always the most complex characters in a story and I was curious to see how many layers there were to this thick-skinned venomous woman. 

“You are not one fuckin’ thing like they think you are, are you?”
“I’m exactly what they think I am.”

It didn’t take KA very long to have me in tears while I watched her break down Franka’s walls and reveal to us the reasons why Franka was so selfish, ruthless and conniving. Kristen gives you a front row seat to Franka’s hellish reality and this one particular scene left me in some serious tears. As painful as it was to see Franka be brought down so low, it’s what we (as readers) needed to see to understand why Franka needed to play the devious and malicious character. And discovering the root of all her evil wasn’t only eye-opening for me, but also for Noc and all the other main characters in this series. Their reactions were palpable and I especially loved seeing Frey’s response and reaction to discovering what had been going on with his cousin for so many years. I already loved the guy and seeing him being the protective cousin made me love him even more. 

“What makes a hero is the one that’s left standing when the others are dead. Or the one that gave his life so the others could live. That’s a fuckin’ hero.”

Now what I really loved the most about the romantic pairing in Midnight Soul was that Kristen Ashley shook things up a bit by pairing a man from the “real” world and a woman from the fantasy parallel world. I think it just made more sense that Franka would end up being with a man not from her world. A man who hadn’t seen first-hand her malicious ways and didn’t have any preconceived notions about her character. Noc’s patience and steady support during Franka’s transformation is what really makes your heart flutter. He definitely shows a lot more patience than KA’s other heroes, but in Franka’s state, it’s just what she needed.

While I admired the fact that Noc took his time with Frannie (as he liked to call her because he thought that Franka sounded too harsh) and I think it was the right decision, this is where the story lost me for a bit. Compared to the other books in the series, Midnight Soul definitely moves at a much slower pace. The couples no longer have to fight evil tyrants or wicked witches, so the meat of this story was solely Franka and Noc’s romance and giving us a look at the lives of the previous couples. While I loved catching up with the previous characters and appreciated seeing Franka and Noc’s relationship evolve from friendship to love, I was hoping there would have been a greater story arc before we got to the epilogue. The story does pick up during the second half of the book and this is the part that I really enjoyed. KA kinda gives a throwback to book one by showing us Franka’s reaction to the “real” world. Yes, KA mixes things up again by bringing the fantasyland character to our world. Just like how I enjoyed reading Finnie’s reaction to fantasyland, Franka’s reactions to our world was really cute. It really makes you realize how we sometimes take for granted all the little luxurious we enjoy  like a modern toilet or getting a mani and pedi.

“You don’t have a midnight soul, Frannie. Your soul is so bright, I look too close, I’d be blinded.”

Saying goodbye to characters is always hard but Kristen Ashley does a magnificent job in telling Franka and Noc’s journey to happily ever after; and delivers one hell of a send off for the rest of the Fantasyland couples by giving us one of my favorite ever KA epilogues. While Midnight Soul might have started on a slow note for me, Ashley solidly delivers a fitting ending for a series that I have grown to love in such a short period of time. As always, KA kills the epilogue and really left me satisfied and happy for all the characters in this series. She also gives us a taste of a budding romance that I’m hoping she’ll eventually turn in to a novella. For fans of this series, this is a do.not.miss.read. 

MS Teaser 1

~ ~ Excerpt ~~

~Franka~

“You need to leave,” I declared.

His brows drew together a moment before his expression showed clearly that comprehension had dawned.

Sadly, comprehension might have dawned but he didn’t leave.

He crouched by the bed and offered in a soft voice, “You need me to carry you to the other room so you can have a bit of privacy?”

Dear goddess.

He thought I needed a chamber pot.

But…

What was happening to my face?

Dear goddess!

The heat I felt in my cheeks could be nothing other than me blushing.

I didn’t blush. I’d never blushed. Not even when I’d set about seducing my first lover at age sixteen.

I needed to be quit of this man as soon as possible.

“No…I…do…not,” I bit out.

“Sure?” he asked kindly.

“I need you to leave, Noctorno,” I used his full name in an effort to irritate, something that worked if the flare in his eyes was any indication, “so Josette can prepare me. We’re away to Kristian’s this morning.”

Another drawing of his brows before he asked, “What?”

“After my toilette, Josette and I are to my sleigh so we can begin our journey to my brother’s home.”

His eyes got bigger as his mouth inquired peculiarly, “Are you high?”

“No,” I answered his ridiculous question unnecessarily, “Indeed, I’m low. As you can see since I’m lying abed.”

For a second he just stared at me.

Then he threw his head back and burst into loud, deep, beautiful laughter.

I wanted to throw something at him.

Unfortunately, in my current position, this was not an option open to me.

“I fail to see what’s amusing,” I noted.

He controlled his mirth only to mutter, “I’ll explain it later.” He went on more distinctly, “Frannie, you’re not goin’ to your brother’s today. Or tomorrow. Or until you’re fit. Then, maybe Valentine will spirit you there, or whatever the fuck that’s called. But for the foreseeable future, your ass is in that bed and you’re resting so you can heal.”

Well!

Who did he think he was, telling me what I would or would not do?

“As you’ve determined,” I began, “this is not the first time I’ve been in this condition so I do believe that I know best what I’m capable of and…”

I stopped speaking because he came slightly out of his crouch so he could put his face into my face and he was no longer looking mirthful.

He was looking angry.

Very angry.

“That was when you had no one lookin’ out for you but that’s not the case anymore. So this is how it’s gonna be,” he announced.

He then, to my shock, irritation and outrage, announced how it was going to be.

Like he had the right to tell me how it was going to be!

~~Giveaway~~

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.


read more

Review: Wildest Dreams by Kristen Ashley

Review: Wildest Dreams by Kristen AshleyWildest Dreams by Kristen Ashley
Series: Fantasyland #1
Published by Kristen Ashley August 5, 2011
Genres: Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 536
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Also in this series: Midnight Soul
Also by this author: At Peace
Amazon US
Goodreads

Seoafin “Finnie” Wilde was taught by her parents that every breath was a treasure and to seek every adventure she could find. And she learns this lesson the hard way when they perish in a plane crash. But she never forgets and when she discovers there is a parallel universe where every person has a twin, she finds a witch who can send her there so she can have the adventure of a lifetime.

But upon arrival in the Winter Wonderland of Lunwyn, she realizes she’s been played by her twin and finds herself walking down the aisle to be wed to The Drakkar.

Thrown into inauspicious circumstances, with years of practice, Finnie bests the challenges and digs into her adventure. But as Frey Drakkar discovers the woman who is his new wife is not Princess Sjofn, a woman he dislikes but instead, his Finnie, a free-spirit with a thirst for venture just like him, without her knowledge he orders his new bride bound to his frozen world, everlasting.

But at the same time Frey plunges Finnie into a web of political intrigue that includes assassination plots, poison, magic, mystery and… dragons.

I seem to be in a perpetual reading slump and the only thing that really brings me joy these days is a Kristen Ashley novel. It’s no secret that I’m a HUGE fan of Kristen Ashley; I think Kristen could write about paint drying and I’d probably enjoy the shit out of it. The woman has a way with her words that totally connects with me and has me feeling all the butterfly flutters in my stomach. It could also be that her over-the-top Alphas just DOT IT for me. So when I realized a few weeks ago that the fifth and final book in the Fantasyland series, Midnight Soul, would be coming out soon, I thought that now would be a good time to read the books that I’ve been collecting (hoarding) for the last few years.

Wildest Dreams is unlike anything that Kristen Ashley has ever written. In this series, Ashley takes you away from her typical backdrop of Denver or the Colorado mountains, and brings you to a fantastical parallel world where elves and dragons exist, animals can speak to you, and Kings and Queens rule. Don’t get me wrong, I love KA’s contemporary romance world, but Fantasyland has elves and dragons. Elves and Dragons!! How could I not quickly fall in love with this world?

“You, everything about you, is beyond my wildest dreams.”

Seofine “Finnie” Wilde’s adventurous heart and deep love and admiration for her deceased parents has her seeking the help of a powerful modern day witch to transport her to a parallel world where she switches places with her “twin,” Sjofn, in order to see her parents again. She eagerly jumps into her new world with minimal questions and lands just in time for her to marry Frey Drakkar, leader of the dragons and elves. Finnie obviously gets more than what she bargained for and this new adventure has her falling for a sweet & loving jackass and becomes a pawn in a dangerous game of thrones. 

“I was going to stay with a man I loved in this fabulous world that had elves and dragons. And I was going to do it forever.”

Even if you aren’t big on fantasy or paranormal romance, Wildest Dreams still has all the elements that makes it a Kristen Ashley novel. From the badass Alpha hero, sassy and adventurous heroine, swoony romance and elements of danger, this book is bound to take you on a fantastic fairytale reading adventure. Like with all other KA stories, Ashley captures all the major and sometimes inconsequential moments that shows the growth in Finnie and Frey’s relationship. Nothing is ever fleshed out quickly, and all of KA’s couples always have to learn every single nuance about each other. 

Together, Finnie and Frey are a funny, adorable and sweet couple. Individually, they are pretty badass. It was easy to admire Finnie’s strength and her willingness to learn new things and jump to a new adventure. Frey is a quintessential KA Alpha male. He’s protective and bossy, but is also very sweet and devoted to Finnie. If Alpha males are your thing, then you’ll definitely love Frey. On top of that, he’s the leader of the freaking elves and dragons. Dragons!!

“There are reasons we walk this earth. I’m coming to realize mine.”

I shouldn’t have waited to long to read this series but I’m glad that I finally did. Kristen Ashley delivers an exceptionally sexy, romantic fantasy book that swept me off my feet and brought me to a fairytale world that I never wanted to leave. KA leaves a few hints on what happens in the nest installment and I cannot wait to dive in further into this fantastical world. 

 

 

About Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.


read more
Review: Walk Through Fire by Kristen Ashley + GiveawayWalk Through Fire by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos #4
Published by Forever Romance 10/27/2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also in this series: Ride Steady
Also by this author: At Peace
Amazon US

The flame never dies . . .

Millie Cross knows what it's like to burn for someone. She was young and wild and he was fierce and even wilder-a Chaos biker who made her heart pound. They fell in love at first sight and life was good, until she learned she couldn't be the woman he needed and made it so he had no choice but to walk away. Twenty years later, Millie's chance run-in with her old flame sparks a desire she just can't ignore. And this time, she won't let him ride off . . .

Bad boy Logan "High" Judd has seen his share of troubles with the law. Yet it was a beautiful woman who broke him. After ending a loveless marriage, High is shocked when his true love walks back into his life. Millie is still gorgeous, but she's just a ghost of her former self. High's intrigued at the change, but her betrayal cut him deep-and he doesn't want to get burned again. As High sinks into meting out vengeance for Millie's betrayal, he'll break all over again when he realizes just how Millie walked through fire for her man . . .

If you’ve been following the Chaos MC’s story, then you know that High, along with Arlo, were the two Chaos MC brothers who weren’t initially on board with Tack’s vision of the brotherhood walking away from their criminal endeavors. That friction between Tack and High always made me a little nervous and weary about High, but after everything that went down in Motorcycle Man, and seeing High’s loyalty to the brotherhood, I knew that High would be a brother I wanted to know more about. We now have his story, and lordy, lordy, lordy it was freaking good! I’m going try real hard to not sound like a broken record, but y’all know I love me some Kristen Ashley romances, so I’ll try to keep the hardcore fangirling at bay. 

“Beautiful. So beautiful. And he once was mine. Then I’d let him go. No, I’d pushed him away.”

WALK THROUGH FIRE, the fourth book in the Chaos series, opens with Millie Cross walking into a Chipotle and spotting High – the man she once adored and was deeply in love with – standing in line and having a cell phone conversation about his children. Usually, a trip to Chipotle should bring nothing but good vibes because…burritos! But Millie’s trip to this tasty establishment has her going through a small little freak out, and she instantly runs away from the restaurant before he’s able to spot her. This almost close encounter forces Millie to finally find the courage to confront the man she pushed away twenty years ago. 

“What you did to us fuckin’ destroyed me and I never put the pieces back together.”

If you know anything about these Chaos men, you know that they are badasses that feel greatly. So, even after two decades, marriage, and settling down to have children, High still carries a lot of anger and hurt from his breakup with Millie. When Millie finally finds High at a biker rally to explain why she forced him to leave so many years ago, their reunion is not pretty and will probably make you hate High a little. The man will do and say some things that will make you want to smack him a few times, but it’s quite evident that his actions are nothing but a defense mechanism to mask the insignificance he felt when Millie pushed him away with no explanation. High unleashes all the anger, hurt, and pain he’s felt for the past twenty years by using whatever means necessary to punish and humiliate her. This all leads to some hot-as-fuck rough sex that’s filled with lots of emotion and angst. 

“You love a man, Millie, you believe in him, you take him as he is. You go on his journey with him no matter what happens, even if that means you have to walk through fire.”

Logan and Millie spend most of the first half of WALK THROUGH FIRE breaking down their defenses and finding their way back to each other. The narrative switches between the past and the present where we see how the couple became, witness how deep and passionate their love was, and how they had a few good years before everything was blown to smithereens. I spent the first twenty percent of the book trying to figure out why the hell Millie would end things with High, because even though he was being a complete asshole, it was evident that their past relationship was solid and they had the makings for a lasting relationship. Millie was determined to keep her reason for leaving Logan a secret, but the man is tireless, and eventually forces the truth out of Millie. 

“I’m done walking through fire for you, High! I’m done not because I’m done but because there’s nothing left of me to burn. You have it all. You’ve always had it all! I gave up everything so you could have it all!

While I figured out what Millie’s “secret” was before the reveal, the scene where she finally confesses to Logan still packed a heavy punch. As I woman, I whole heartedly understood why Millie had sentenced herself to a hopeless life filled with loneliness. In true Kristen Ashley form, she dives precisely into the female psyche, and voices every thought, feeling and vulnerability that crosses every single female mind. I was left feeling just as absolutely devastated as these two characters once everything came out. Devastated for Millie because she had lived an empty life, and was only a ghost of her former self for the past twenty years; and devastated for Logan because he had spent twenty years of his life harboring so much hate and anger for a woman who in reality was saving him from not losing his dream.

Logan and Millie spend most of the second half of this story trying to fit their relationship into the lives they had built during the last two decades. While Millie might have lived as a ghost, she’s now a well established party planner with a flourishing business. Logan has to learn all her new nuances while Millie slowly steps back into the life of being an old lady while trying to establish a relationship with Logan’s children. Characters from the previous Chaos novels play a heavy role in Logan and Millie’s story and provide a lot of support and some turmoil in Logan and Millie’s reunion. The conflict between the Chaos MC and local crime boss Benito Valenzuela also escalates in this story and forces Chaos to finally make some moves. These new revelations has me excited and anxious for the next installment of this series. If I my suspicion of who the next book will be about, I am super stocked for it!

“Doin’ anything at your side, no matter how hard it gets, it’s still gonna be a fuckuva lot easier than tryin’ to do anything without you. So, you’re right. It might not be easy. Life is what it is and we’re gonna face shit along the way. But I know what it was like, doin’ that not havin’ you. And I know what it was like doin’ that havin’ you. And I know which way I like better.”

WALK THROUGH FIRE is the kind of second chance romance that will make you believe (if you weren’t already) that it is possible to for love to stand the test of time even if the two characters walk down different paths to find their way back to each other. Logan and Millie’s story if packed full of emotion, a little angst, and a few gut wrenching moments. Like with the rest of her books, Walk Through Fire is all about the decisions and sacrifices people make for love, relationships and family. This book is bound to be another homerun for KA fans and y’all better be ready, cause Logan, Millie and Kristen Ashley will unleash all sorts of feels that will leave you soul sighing. 

 

 

 

Giveaway

 

Forever Romance is kindly letting us giveaway a copy of WALK THROUGH FIRE to one of our followers. To enter, subscribe to Black Heart Reviews via email and leave a comment below letting us know what you love most about second chance romances. Open to US/CA Only.

 

 

 

About Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.


read more

Review: Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley

Review: Ride Steady by Kristen AshleyRide Steady by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos #3
Published by Kristen Ashley June 30, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 640
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also in this series: Walk Through Fire
Also by this author: At Peace
Amazon US | B&N
Goodreads

The ride of her life . . .
Once upon a time, Carissa Teodoro believed in happy endings. Money, marriage, motherhood: everything came easy---until she woke up to the ugly truth about her Prince Charming. Now a struggling, single mom and stranded by a flat tire, Carissa's pondering her mistakes when a vaguely familiar knight rides to her rescue on a ton of horsepower.

Climb on and hold tight . . .
In high school, Carson Steele was a bad boy loner who put Carissa on a pedestal where she stayed far beyond his reach. Today, he's the hard-bodied biker known only as Joker, and from the way Carissa's acting, it's clear she's falling fast. While catching her is irresistible, knowing what to do with her is a different story. A good girl like Carissa is the least likely fit with the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Too bad holding back is so damned hard. Now, as Joker's secrets are revealed and an outside threat endangers the club, Joker must decide whether to ride steady with Carissa---or ride away forever . . .

I’ve lost count of how many Kristen Ashley book I’ve read, but I swear each time I read a new Kristen Ashley book I feel like I’m reading her for the first time. Kristen Ashley continues to amaze me with her ability to captivate with me with storytelling that make my heart skip a beat and takes my breath away. Carson ‘Joker’ Steele became a heavy contender in my all-time favorite KA heroes list after reading RIDE STEADY and he might become a favorite of yours too when you read this book.

One day Carson Steele, you’re going to be a magnificent man. I don’t know how that will be….But whatever it is, it will happen. I believe it. And one day, you’ll see past what you’ve been taught and you’ll believe it too.

RIDE STEADY starts with a prologue that immediately has your heart bleeding for Carson ‘Joker’ Steele. Ashley gives you a glimpse of Joker’s life before he became the brooding, badass biker we were introduced to at the beginning of the series. Carson’s life wasn’t easy, and it was full of disappointment, abuse, and pain. Carson learns early on that his only chance of surviving was to be strong, endure, and then leave the painful life he’s known for most his life and make a name and life for himself. Despite his upbringing, Joker eventually reaches his goals and becomes part of the Chaos Motorcycle Club, a brotherhood of badass men with an unbreakable bond and loyalty to family and friends.

She was golden. Nothing beat her. She smiled through pain and made you believe it.

Unlike Carson Steele, Carissa Teodoro’s life was pretty sweet. Growing up, she had loving parents, was the pretty and popular cheerleader in high school, and dated the football star. She would eventually marry her high school sweetheart, live in a nice house and was eagerly awaiting the arrival of her baby. But then her “perfect” life comes to a halt when she discovers her husband has been cheating on her and then kicks her to the curb. Now, Carissa is a single mother struggling trying to make ends meet just so she can give her adorable baby boy a comfortable life.

A chance encounter on the side of a Denver highway eventually brings our two protagonists together, and kickstarts Joker and Carissa’s road to happily ever after. Now, their meeting wasn’t a meet cute, but it definitely made an impression on both of them. You see, Joker and Carissa actually knew of each other in high school. While Joker knew who Carissa was the whole entire time, Carissa had no idea who the rugged and intimidating biker that was helping her out. Something about Joker draws her to him, but she doesn’t find out until later who he really his, and when she does, it makes their reunion a whole lot sweeter.

It was always you. Only you. I was into you back then, Carissa, in a big fuckin’ way. And that hasn’t changed.

What I loved most about RIDE STEADY was that Kristen Ashley combined two of my favorite traditional romance tropes: second chance at love and the struggling single mom. Add in some badass, alphalicious bikers, Chaos MC brotherhood, a strong heroine, and Ashley’s magic touch, this book became so much more. I definitely felt like my emotions were on a roller coaster while reading Ride Steady. My heart broke for Carson. I wanted to give Carrie’s ex-husband a beat down for what he did and continued to do to her. I wanted bitch slap Joker when he was being a jerk. I jumped for joy when Joker and Carissa finally surrendered to each other. I squirmed when Joker and Carrie got their sexy on. My heart melted when Joker shared sweet moments with Carissa’s son, Travis. And my heart felt full when Ashley brought back some of my beloved characters from her Chaos World. Tack Allen makes a few appearances in this book, and if you thought you loved him before, you’ll love him even more after Ride Steady. And my favorite, favorite secondary character in all of Ashley’s books, Elvira, will have you cackling when she struts in the scene and does what Elvira does best, being sassy and fabulous.

This was it. Him and me. Joker and Carrie. Carson and Carissa. Connecting. Finally.

While Ashley stays true to her formula, she will still entrance you with her descriptive story about finding true and real happiness, never giving up, and the importance of family and loyalty. I can’t even tell you how many times I had to put my Kindle down and absorb awesomeness of Kristen Ashley’s storytelling, and all the times she had me swooning and going googly eyed over Carson ‘Joker’ Steele. Kristen’s books almost makes me forget that I’m supposed to be this black hearted bitch that doesn’t get all hearts, flowers and butterflies. But when she writes phenomenal stories like Joker and Carissa’s story, I can’t help but be that kind of girl and I’m not even ashamed to admit it. RIDE STEADY is a perfectly packaged contemporary romance that will sweep readers away and make them wish they had their own badass biker to ride away with.

 

 

About Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.


read more

Review: At Peace by Kristen Ashley

Review: At Peace by Kristen AshleyAt Peace by Kristen Ashley
Series: The 'Burg #2
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 621
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Ride Steady
Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | iTunes
Goodreads

Violet Winters once had it all but lost it when her husband was murdered by a criminal madman. During a cold winter night Violet has to leave her warm bed to tell her neighbor to turn the music down. And that’s when she meets sinister, scarred, scarily attractive security specialist, Joe Callahan.

She wants to deny it, but Violet can’t beat back the hunger she feels for Joe so she gives in again and again. Feeling it himself, Joe feeds Vi’s hunger, breaking his own rules to keep her in his bed.

Even though Violet had only one man in her life, she’s sure Joe is giving her the signals and Vi decides she’s ready to take a second chance at life and, maybe, love. But Violet doesn’t know the dark secrets in Joe’s past, secrets so soul-wrenching, they’ve drained him dry. With nothing left to give, Joe’s determined to live his life alone and he breaks Violet’s heart.

Crushed by Joe’s betrayal, Violet comes to terms with the fact that, no matter what signals he gave, Joe was not theirs to win. But Violet’s husband’s murderer is obsessed with her and heartbreak again haunts the door of the Winters home. When it does Joe is forced to face the knowledge that he can’t fight Violet’s pull, she’s under his skin and filled him full to bursting.

Joe needs to win her back and put his life on the line to keep Violet safe. But, having had it all once, can Violet endure losing Joe?

Kristen Ashley never ceases to amaze me with her utter brilliance for writing romance books that grab a hold of you and totally get under your skin. I rarely review her books because it’s just too difficult for me to articulate how freaking much I love her books. But after seeing the cover reveal for Hold On (The ‘Burg #6), I felt the need to let some words flow on the page because this book was just too freaking good. And I’m on this quest to finish up the rest of this series before Hold On releases. AT PEACE was such a heart-melting, suspenseful and achingly beautiful story that I’m kicking myself for not reading this book sooner. Seriously? Why had I not read this book earlier?!
For the past year and a half, Violet Winter’s has had to rebuild her once beautiful life. Her high school sweetheart and husband of seventeen years was brutally murdered by a psycho mobster who had a sick obsession with Violet. After enduring months of being stalked and harassed by Daniel Hart, Violet and her two teenage daughters, Katy and Keira, leave Chicago and head to Indiana to live a much more peaceful and safe life. Violet works tirelessly to provide for her daughters, and give them a somewhat normal life back, sans their father.

I’d had everything once, and what was more, my daughters had it. In a way I didn’t think it could begin again, the world had ended when that everything was ripped away, not just from me but from my daughters. 

Violet’s journey with her daughters has been rough and emotional, but the Winter’s girls do the best that they can. But even with all her efforts to put on a happy face for her daughters, Violet is sad and lonely. She definitely still loves her deceased husband but I totally understood her want and need to move on. Ashley really tugged on my heart strings when Violet talked about her loneliness, and as a reader, I was so ready for her to meet the man that would fill the gaping hole in her heart. Thank goodness Ashley doesn’t make us wait too long for Violet to meet the man that would change her life for her and her girls.Joe Callahan. OMFG. Joe Callahan! Now, I’ve read quite a few Kristen Ashley books and have loved all of her alpha males, but Joe FREAKING Callahan easily tops them all. He’s uber-bossy, alpha male to the extreme. He’ll tick you off like no other but when you peel back his layers, you understand why he’s the way he is and does what he does. Joe’s childhood and early adulthood was sad and tragic and when you learn everything about him, you understand why he puts Violet through some real bullshit situations. It’s not totally excusable but you understand and become compassionate.

This shit was natural, like I was born to be in Joe Callahan’s bed and it was natural to him too, like Joe Callahan was born to be in mine.

Like with all of Kristen Ashley’s romances, Violet and Joe’s road to happily ever after in AT PEACE is not an easy road. I swear I got whiplash from Violet and Joe’s turbulent beginning. Like I said, Joe can be a complete – and I mean COMPLETE – dick, but when he turns on his sweet side….HOLY SHIT! you are done and over with. Kristen Ashley smashed my heart to smithereens once Violet and Joe’s relationship finally falls in place, and each can start rebuilding the parts of themselves that was broken or lost.

A lot happens in this book, so I’m not even going to try to capture everything that happens in this book. That would be utterly crazy! I can promise you that you will not want to put down this book as soon as you read it. Kristen Ashley has this amazing talent of getting you fully invested in her characters. She doesn’t just tell their stories, but she makes her characters a part of you. And it’s not just Joe and Violet who burrow themselves in  you, Violet’s daughters and extended family will make your heart melt. The scenes between Joe, Violet and the girls are some of my favorite scenes in the book, and there were a few times that I choked up because those moments were just so beautiful and poignant.

He needs Mom and us more than we need him. He needs a family. He’s over there, all by himself, he has nobody. We have each other.” She looked at me and started, “He needs somebody. I can tell.”

Kristen Ashley infuses so much heart and emotion into her stories that you can’t help but feel a deep connection to each and every one of her characters. I’ve read quite a few Kristen Ashley books but AT PEACE easily slides into my Top 3 spots of favorite Kristen Ashley books of all time. I loved the mixture of Ashley’s signature romance storytelling with a hint of suspense and action. Joe and Violet’s chemistry was off the charts in this book and even though this book was already over 600+ pages, I wished it could have gone on for a little long. They are definitely a couple that I will not forget and their story is one that I know I will revisit often. 

About Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.


read more


%d bloggers like this: