The Gamble is my second Kristen Ashley read, and I enjoyed it as much as Sweet Dreams, mainly because yummy, protectiv...more5+ stars – Contemporary Romance
The Gamble is my second Kristen Ashley read, and I enjoyed it as much as Sweet Dreams, mainly because yummy, protective alpha hero Max actually rocked my world more than SD’s Tate. Nina and Max were great together, and the story kept me completely engaged, despite the fact that it’s very lengthy. The Gamble is another winner, and I’m looking forward to reading more from this author. 5 stars!
One of my favorite scenes is when Max mops the floor with Nina’s snooty ex-fiancé, Niles, without even delivering a single punch.
(view spoiler)[He put the knuckles of his fist to the table, leaned toward Niles and spoke quietly, cuttingly, in his rough, gravelly voice.
“Fucked her last night, man, and this morning. Five times. Five. It was like she hadn’t been touched in a decade. So fuckin’ sweet. Damn,” he taunted, his eyes locked on Niles. “You’ve had her, you gotta know, not enough money in the world’s worth that.”
“Not one fuckin’ thing gentlemanly about protecting what’s yours. Looks like you’re gonna lose it, you do everything you can to stop that from happening.” Max looked back to Niles. “And you didn’t do that. She was a week away from me, she walked into a room I was in holdin’ another man’s hand, I’d lose my fuckin’ mind. Not at her. Wonderin’ where I lost my way and I’d talk to her about how to find my way back.”(hide spoiler)]
There are a lot of reviews for this already, so here are some of my random thoughts.
The Bad and The U...more5+ stars – Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense
There are a lot of reviews for this already, so here are some of my random thoughts.
The Bad and The Ugly:
•Yes, it’s an editing nightmare that at times made me want to whip out my red pen and go crazy with correcting remarks. •There is way too much (and occurring too often) inane detail, especially about the heroine’s wardrobe, outfits, hair, makeup, getting ready, routine, etc. I understand that her self-esteem and makeover were a significant component to the story, but I still think an easy 50+ pages of random “stuff” could have been trimmed. •It was annoying to me how the heroine constantly answered the hero with “Sorry?”, and also how she repeated Tate’s name over and over again like Kate Winslet’s Rose continually said “Jack”, “Jack”, “Jack”, “Jack” all throughout Titanic.
BUT, despite those annoyances, here’s why I still rated it 5 stars.
•The story has a frenetic hodgepodge of themes: chick lit self-discovery, steamy contemporary romance, small town drama, family angst, crazy exes, serial killer suspense...you name it. But amazingly enough, it works. I was sucked in and thoroughly entertained. •The hero is an ex-football star, ex-cop, bounty hunting, bar-owning, tattooed badass, uber alpha biker. He’s growly, sometimes mean, often pissed off, possessive, and fond of saying (or perhaps I should say grunting) “Babe” and “Ace” to communicate a wealth of things, rather than expressing or explaining himself. There were times I wanted Lauren to smack him and send his ass packing to the curb. But DAYUM! Tate is f’n HOT! •The heroine is insecure, funny, flawed, sweet, sometimes cranky and bitchy, caring, and most of all, genuine and endearing. Laurie is easy to identify with because she’s so real. I could see myself laughing over manis and martinis with her. •Cute scenes with Buster the cat, aka, Princess Fancy Pants. •Tender, heartbreaking moments with Tate’s son, Jonas. *sigh* •An unforgettable, quirky cast of secondary characters. •Great dialogue, snappy banter, humor, and emotion. It made me laugh out loud at times and tear up in others. •And oh yeah, the steamy romance between Tate and Laurie is truly addictive.
So it’s not perfect, but I still loved it and will definitely read more by this author!
I had a hard time casting my perfect Tate, mainly because he’s so impossibly gruff, badass, and smokin’ hot. But I think Hugh Jackman could portray him fairly convincingly, especially if he acted all Wolverine broody, growly, alpha badass and got some sexy tats. He particularly looks the part in these pictures. YUMMY!
Addendum after further Internet exploration for the perfect Tate:
This is Tate in all his beautiful, badass, bounty hunter glory. *sigh*
Has the stress and hectic pace of the holiday season got you down? Are you feeling a bit more bah humbug Scrooge than jo...more5 stars – Contemporary Romance
Has the stress and hectic pace of the holiday season got you down? Are you feeling a bit more bah humbug Scrooge than joyful Buddy the Elf? Do you need a good dose of holiday spirit?
Got Mistletoe? is a delightful, sweet, heartwarming, and romantic story that’s sure to provide some holiday cheer, inspiration, and a reminder that human connection and love are the reasons we get up every day and why the holiday season is a such a perfect time to celebrate that with those we love.
For such a short story, I was impressed by the level of details that give real insight into Blake and Ryan’s characters and made their immediate emotional connection and fast developed relationship believable, heartfelt, touching, and hot. I hope to see a follow up story about Blake and Ryan to find out where life takes these devoted lovers in the future.
Here are a couple of my favorite lines:
“Blake said, fighting the urge to reach out and run his fingers lightly on his elf’s sweet face. His elf. Good Lord, he’d already started thinking of the imp as his, and Ryan had barely said more than a few words to him.”
“Ryan knew he was the type of man a lot of men didn’t find attractive. Oh they thought he was okay in a rainbow-flag-flying kind of way.”
Got Mistletoe? is guaranteed to leave a big smile on your face and give your heart a Grinch size makeover! 5 stars! (less)
A bunch of my fellow romance lovin’ Goodreads friends have been reading and raving about Kristen Ashley, and with great...more5+ stars – Contemporary Romance
A bunch of my fellow romance lovin’ Goodreads friends have been reading and raving about Kristen Ashley, and with great reason. Lady Luck is the third book in the Colorado Mountain series, and after reading it, I’m now 3 for 3 with her books being big 5 star winners that I loved.
There’s just something about her stories that grab me right from the beginning and never let go. I especially love how the details, descriptions, and conversations depict such vivid images of the characters and scenes so that it feels like you’re watching a movie in your mind. It’s true that the editing could use improvement and there’s perhaps too much elucidation of inane minutiae, like clothes, jewelry, outfits, rooms, furniture, and common “stuff”. But overall Ashley’s unique writing style and genuine, engaging dialogue bring the story and cast to life. Her books are unusually lengthy and take me longer to read than other authors/books, but then astonishingly when they’re over, I’m sad and still want more. Fortunately, she also gives her readers superb epilogues that more than satisfy.
I absolutely adored Lexie, but I didn’t warm up to Ty quite as easily. I felt bad for him and all that he endured, and his anger, cynical mistrust of women, and desire for vengeance were more than justified. Even so, Ty’s cruel treatment of Lexie in a couple of momentous, heartbreakingly intense scenes really pissed me off. I cried like a baby and felt nearly as emotionally flayed and raw afterward as she did. Lexie’s such an incredibly sweet, loyal, giving, and loving heroine, and I wasn’t sure he’d be able to win me back after he’d hurt her so terribly and unforgivably. Amazingly he did, and with icing and a cherry on top. It certainly didn’t hurt that he’s a smokin’ hot, tortured, badass alpha, which I can never resist.
Crude language doesn’t bother me, but there’s a lot of fuckin’, pussy, and bitch talk in this that got somewhat grating at times. Also, I didn’t really care for Ty’s nickname “mama” for Lexie initially, but it grew on me after a while.
My summary of the Colorado Mountain series so far: Favorite hero: Max from The Gamble Favorite heroine: Lexie from Lady Luck Favorite overall story/book: Sweet Dreams And I can’t wait for Chace and Faye’s story!
I’m glad she’s got an extensive backlist and more book releases coming because I definitely want to read more by this author! Big 5 stars!
I envisioned hunkalicious Boris Kodjoe as Ty. He doesn’t have enough tats, but I’ve got a great imagination and could mentally tat him up.
I imagined Jennifer Garner or Rachel Weisz as Lexie. I think either of them could play her with the perfect mix of sweet, goof, and sass.
Femdom isn’t my preference in erotica. (I usually like my doms to be hot alpha males.) But having the story tol...more4 ½ stars – Contemporary Erotic Novella
Femdom isn’t my preference in erotica. (I usually like my doms to be hot alpha males.) But having the story told from the insecure, flawed, average hero Wyle’s POV and getting insight into his dominatrix/mistress fantasies was hilarious and highly entertaining. There’s one angtsy scene ensuing from a misunderstanding, but otherwise it’s flippant and funny as hell at times. (At least it was to me.) The Femdom/BDSM element is on the light side as well and mostly involves fantasy role-playing.
This is the second story I’ve read by this author and I enjoy her writing style. It’s a great erotic novella, especially for a freebie.
Here are a couple of examples of the hero’s sarcastic, self-deprecating humor.
(view spoiler)[“Do you want to come in for coffee?” she rushed out in a whoosh of a breath. Coffee. Coffee meaning sex, right? My dick perked up, well-versed in the coffee-sex synonymy. That’s what coffee means, but did she know that? She was awfully young, no matter her few years of working after college or her fancy new job title.
“Yes,” I breathed. It was a scary proposition. A girl like her, practically slumming with me. It could be something bad. That would explain why she’d wanted me. I’d be desperate enough to do it. But I had a suspicion that if she wanted me to shove food in her orifices while chanting satanic rituals, I’d ask if she preferred bananas or zucchini. That’s how much I wanted to fuck her.(hide spoiler)]
I feel absolutely gutted and raw after reading this, and the ending left me screaming W.T.F?!?!
I wanted a big...more4 ½ stars – Contemporary Romance Novella
I feel absolutely gutted and raw after reading this, and the ending left me screaming W.T.F?!?!
I wanted a big confrontation and an explanation and answers and groveling and revelations and honesty and flowers and puppies and babies. I’m scared and hesitant to read Sins & Needles at this point because I want Javier and Ellie together in their dark, wild, terrifying rollercoaster ride of life. But I know I’ll continue with the series because I’m totally entangled in this crazy, gritty web of lies, revenge, and deceit.(less)
All the single ladies, all the single ladies All the single ladies, all the single ladies All the single ladies...
Now pack your bags up!
Considering there’s not one but four yummy heroes introduced in this first book in the Dream Man series that’s set in Denver, Colorado (all of whom get their own book...YAY!), not to mention the smokin’ hot, badass alpha heroes from Ashley’s Colorado Mountain series, and it definitely wouldn’t be surprising if all the single ladies suddenly packed up and moved to Colorado.
Mystery Man is Cabe “Hawk” Delgado’s book. Initially, I was far more fascinated and smitten with Detective Mitch Lawson and biker badass Tack (two of the aforementioned yummy Dream Men who will have leading roles in Law Man and Motorcycle Man respectively). But of course Hawk soon won me over and left me panting, daydreaming, and swooning like all of KA’s heroes.
Hawk is a growly, bossy, arrogant, brooding, domineering, and possessive uber alpha commando who could teach Tate from Sweet Dreams a thing or two about being a badass, including the correct, standard rumbling response to anything and everything...“Babe”.
There were several times I wanted to smack both Hawk and Gwen, but they eventually got their sh*t together. Kristen Ashley is a master when it comes to dreamy, gratifying epilogues, and this time was certainly no exception...just heartwarming perfection. 5 stars!
Wow! I loved this! Kristen Ashley is an amazing author warrior queen! Seriously! At Peace is the 8th...more5 stars – Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense
Wow! I loved this! Kristen Ashley is an amazing author warrior queen! Seriously! At Peace is the 8th book of hers that I’ve read and highly enjoyed and it’s one of my favorite KA reads. Although the Colorado Mountain series and my beloved Law Man still hold a definite edge.
Joe Callahan is another extremely domineering, uber alpha asshat and lordy have mercy did he piss me off...until around the 80% mark that is! There were times I swore that even if he got down on his hands and knees and crawled through broken glass to apologize, plead, and beg for forgiveness for being such an absolute d*ck that I wouldn’t have been swayed. I mean, I wanted him to execute some serious groveling. Alas, he never did. BUT, his way of making amends was much more subtle, genuine, powerful, and affecting and therefore all the more gratifying. And in the end, he totally won me over and had me sighing and swooning along with the Winters girls.
So Joe was an arrogant jerk and Violet could be a wishy-washy wimp at times, but boy were they explosive together! The sex scenes were rough and smokin’ hot! And I was anxious for them to find their HEA. The love triangle between Joe/Violet/Mike lasted far too long, and I missed Ashley’s staple, celebrated, detailed epilogue, but otherwise this is another fabulous KA winner!
I’m looking forward to reading Mike’s story, Games of the Heart, because he’s certainly due a much deserved HEA. And I read on the author’s website that she’s planning to write Frankie and Benny’s story in an upcoming ‘Burg release. Yay! Kristen Ashley has already solidified a position as one of my top favorite keeper authors of 2012. Big 5 stars!
I had a hard time finding my perfect Joe because he’s so enigmatically, broodingly sexy and all badass, rugged alpha male with some macho Italian mixed in, but I think Italian actor Raoul Bova could fit the bill.
Another Kristen Ashley winner! Do I even need to say anything more than that? Probably not, so ins...more4 ½-5 stars – Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense
Another Kristen Ashley winner! Do I even need to say anything more than that? Probably not, so instead of a typical review, I’m going to do some general rambling.
What I Loved:
#1 -- It’s told entirely from the hero’s POV, which is A+wesome!
That brings me to item #2, which is the hero, Tanner Layne. He’s a badass PI, a tough alpha male, and a devoted lover and father struggling to reconcile with his past, one and only, true love and make amends with his teen boys while also trying to teach them how to be men.
And this takes me to favorite things about the book #3 and #4 -- Layne’s teen sons, Jasper and Tripp. They’re KA heartthrobs and heroes in their own right and made me feel a little bit dirty and cougar-ish for seriously crushing on teenagers. (view spoiler)[Jasper and Keira and Trip and Giselle seemed to get their own HEAs, (hide spoiler)]but I really hope we haven’t seen the last of them. In fact, I’d love for Jasper and Tripp to be featured as main (legal and guilt free) heroes in future KA books. LOL!
#5 -- A great secondary cast of characters, especially mysterious badass, Ryker. I’m also looking forward to Garrett Merrick’s story.
#6 -- The To Kill a Mockingbird reference and how it’s an allegory for the story.
#7 -- The sweet and gratifying epilogue that’s worthy of 10+ stars!
Wacky But Whatever, It Still Worked Somehow:
Parenting 101 -- I’m not a parent so I can’t rightfully judge someone’s child rearing skills, but that doesn’t mean I can’t shake my head a few times with a seriously?, huh?, or wtf? There were several characters (Layne, Gabby, Vera, Dave, etc.) who demonstrated questionable parenting. I’m honestly not sure how I feel about some of Layne’s parenting decisions and actions, like involving his teenage sons, ages 14 and 17, in an undercover operation of a shady youth group. I imagine he would probably raise the eyebrows of some parental experts. But raising teenagers to be compassionate, responsible adults who do the right thing isn’t easy. I liked his honesty and that he didn’t shield Jasper and Tripp from the harsh realities of life. And it seemed to all work out for the best.
Talk Show Worthy Family Drama -- I think several characters in this book needed some counseling. Seriously, Dr. Phil would have a freakin field day with these people.
Crazy Exes, Multiple Plots, and Uber Villains -- Layne’s b*tchy ex-wife Gabby and her loser, enforcer boyfriend, Rocky’s cheating doctor ex and his shady financial and business dealings, and an undercover investigation of a sinister youth minister (view spoiler)[whose group is really a front for recruiting girls for a child pornography, underage sexual slavery/prostitution ring (hide spoiler)] run by a female mastermind villain who makes Cruella de Vil look like the Easter Bunny.
The Big Secret Reveal -- It was a heartbreaking scene, but also seemed very melodramatic and overly angsty.
The Hero’s Name -- Layne is a nerdy programmer analyst with fancy pencils in his pocket and Tanner is a badass biker or cowboy (and Days of Our Lives soap opera bad boy from the early 90’s). So I would have preferred that the hero went by his first name, Tanner, instead of his last name, Layne.
The Heroine’s Name –- She has a beautiful name, Raquel, but everyone calls her Rocky?! Ugh!
Size Matters -- KA’s stories are characteristically detailed and lengthy, but this one felt looong. I think it could have used some trimming down.
But despite all the wackiness and some imperfections, I loved it! Nearly 5 stars!
Jasper (Now you can understand why I was crushing hard on a teenager!)
Whew boy! LJ’s wildly sexy Rough Riders series, with its hunky, dominating, pant-inducing, studli...more5+ stars – Contemporary/Western Romance/Erotica/BDSM
Whew boy! LJ’s wildly sexy Rough Riders series, with its hunky, dominating, pant-inducing, studlicious cowboys, makes me smile, laugh, cry, and fan myself in utter erotic glee every single time. Kane McKay is another yummy, to die (and drop panties) for hero, and he and strong, independent lawyer Ginger are pure fire together. Raising Kane is another smokin’ hot, hawt, HOT read and one of my favorites of the series.
I just loved Kane’s sweet and soft side and the way he was so nurturing, caring, and protective of Ginger and her son Hayden, but then all alpha, dominating, and demanding in the bedroom...YOWZA! Kane joins his twin Kade from Tied Up, Tied Down for my favorite McKay man.
It’s an entertaining, wickedly erotic read that’s emotional, funny, touching, yet deliciously raunchy with a hero who’s equally tender and dominating, a heroine who’s stubborn, strong, and genuine, and an adorable kid who adds to the story, rather than detracts. There’s plenty of nekkid fun, naughty rope play, and scorching hot sex, but there’s also lots of heart, which is what makes this series so fantastic. Big 5 sweet, studtastic stars!
Here’s my Kane (or any of the yummy McKay men for that matter):
Yowza! I’m an avid Pamela Clare fangirl and her I-Team series is one of the very best in romantic suspens...more5 stars – Erotic/Contemporary Romance Prequel
Yowza! I’m an avid Pamela Clare fangirl and her I-Team series is one of the very best in romantic suspense. So what do I think about her venture into writing an “erotic” story? Oh hell yeah!
This is a prequel to Striking Distance detailing the steamy, forbidden weekend Javier and Laura share together. I’m glad I read this first, and now I’m counting down the days until Striking Distance is released.
I also hope Ms. Clare writes more erotic romances in the future!(less)
GAWD I loved this book so much! There are many things that make this a great read but the reasons can be easily summari...more5+ stars – Contemporary Romance
GAWD I loved this book so much! There are many things that make this a great read but the reasons can be easily summarized in three words repeated over and over again: Detective Mitch Lawson. A Law Man and Dream Man extraordinaire, he is without a doubt my favorite Kristen Ashley alpha hero and one of the most swoonalicious, studtastic, heart thud inducing, and sigh-worthy heroes in Romancelandia. Seriously, Mitch is yummy husband hero material and utterly amazing in every single way and then some.
I’ll be honest that I wanted to smack Mara silly for about the first 30+% of the book. Her constant judging and referring to people in terms of their zone number...“they’re a 7.5, I’m a 2.5, and he’s a 10.5”...really annoyed me. There were times when I wondered, why doesn’t Mitch ever let Mara talk or even finish a freaking sentence? (This is a common behavior with all of Kristen Ashley’s alpha heroes.) But then I was like, oh wait, maybe it’s because all she ever says is “uh...”, “um...”, “pardon me?”, and “sorry?”! And I found myself agreeing with Mitch’s harsh assessment that Mara seriously needed to (view spoiler)[get her head out of her ass (hide spoiler)]. But once Mara’s past was revealed and her batsh*t crazy relatives came calling; I understood and liked her much better. And I was so proud of her along with Mitch when she finally recognized her own self worth, found some backbone, and stood up for herself and her kids.
That brings me to another main reason I loved this book so much, which is the adorable, heartstring-tugging kids, Billy/Bud and Billie, and the cute, sweet, and emotional moments between them, Mara, and Mitch. There were several poignant scenes that choked me up and had tears streaming down my cheeks and others that brought a big smile to my face.
Like all of the previous Kristen Ashley books that I’ve read, this grabbed me from the very beginning, kept me engaged throughout, and had me anxiously yearning for a HEA finale. And once again, like all of KA’s stories, I was sad for it to end and grateful for the beautiful, touching epilogue that is in and of itself worthy of 5+ stars. (view spoiler)[The scene in the epilogue where Bud pounds a fist over his heart while staring meaningfully at Mitch on his way to the baseball dugout had me gulping back sobs. (hide spoiler)]
And the romance? Oh yeah! It’s intense, sexy, and smokin’ hot! Law Man is another Kristen Ashley winner! Big 5 stars!
Josh Duhamel is my Detective Mitch Lawson, and he definitely has the soulful brown eyes. *sigh*
There’s no possible way I can adequately express my feelings about this book or gush enough over how much I admire Kris...more5+ stars – Contemporary Romance
There’s no possible way I can adequately express my feelings about this book or gush enough over how much I admire Kristen Ashley’s writing brilliance. So I’ll keep things simple and just say that I loved, loved, loved this!
Ms. Ashley is the reigning queen of smokin’ hot, badass uber alpha heroes, addictive, sigh-worthy romance, and dreamy, gratifying epilogues, and Heaven and Hell is certainly no exception. It’s one of my very favorite KA reads to date! Huge, heavenly 5 stars!
Sam in all his sexy, swoonalicious glory:
Kia in casual glamour mode:
Kia lounging around Sam’s beach house in North Carolina:
Memphis going for a walk on the beach:
On a side note...I’ve been to Lake Como in Italy and it’s without a doubt one of the most beautiful, heavenly places I’ve seen. So I especially loved all the Lake Como scenes.
Lago di Como è bellissima!
This emotional, heartfelt scene pretty much sums up the book.
(view spoiler)[“You walked into that dining room, baby, and you know, the minute I saw you, I wanted to fuck you. Two days later, I saw you outside havin’ a drink and even before you looked at me with tears in your eyes, just when I saw you sittin’ there, I was annoyed, thought you were playin’ games, and I didn’t care. Just you sittin’ there I knew it was you.” He knew it was me. Me I closed my eyes. “Look at me,” Sam ordered quietly and I opened them. “Weeks after that, Kia, I saw you standing in my kitchen writing a grocery list, doing nothing, just writing a grocery list. But you’d just made me laugh and, just like you, you made me do it hard. That shit with Gordo, with Luci, losin’ Ben, Felicia tryin’ to off herself, that shit’s too much, it wears you down. I hadn’t laughed like that in months, not since Gordo died and in that moment, you in the kitchen, I realized I did it all the time with you. There were times before, a lot of them, I’d look at you and feel your pull, so strong. I wanted to fight it, deny it but I couldn’t, you wouldn’t let me and I didn’t get it. But seein’ you standing in my kitchen, effortlessly beautiful, writing a fuckin’ grocery list after you made me laugh like that, I knew what it was. I got it. I knew it was more. I knew that wasn’t an offer. That was a promise. Even with all the shit goin’ down with you, shit that would wear any other woman down, it didn’t with you and you gave me that from the beginning. And it hit me then that was what my life would be like if I lived the whole of it with you. And I knew I couldn’t live without you.” Oh. My. God. He couldn’t live without me. His face got close. “You cannot leave me. You can’t. I can’t live without you.” He couldn’t live without me. He was in hell, just like me. And just like he did for me, I showed him heaven.(hide spoiler)]
My favorite badass alpha, yowza dirty talkin’ Sam quote:
**********explicit language and spoiler warning**********
(view spoiler)[“Kia, eyes on me,” Sam ordered gently and my eyes slid back to him to see he wasn’t smiling anymore and there was no trace of hilarity. He was focused, intent and serious but all of that in a tender way that made something important shift inside of me. “Makin’ you melt for me then makin’ you light up for me, listening to you get excited, feeling it, tasting it, eating it.” His words made me shiver and it helped that his hand was gliding up my back, my neck and into my hair then he pulled my head down so my face was an inch from his and he continued on a whisper, “Feelin’ you come against my mouth, watchin’ you drive yourself down on my dick, listening to you moan as your pussy clenched around my cock when you came, baby, yeah, that was all okay, that was all better than fuckin’ okay. It was fuckin’ beautiful.”(hide spoiler)]