I wasn't going to, because I really didn't want to, but underneath it all I sort of wanted to and therI did it. I FINALLY read a Kristen Ashley book.
I wasn't going to, because I really didn't want to, but underneath it all I sort of wanted to and therefore it made it all super hard not to, even though if you were to have asked my GR friends, of which there are many and some of them don't even like KA but some of them are super obsessed with her and they would all say to go ahead and read her except for my friends Karla and Catherine who I don't think will give her a try. Whereas, I sat down the other night and what can I say, I really liked this even though I told myself all the way through that I couldn't believe I liked it, which I did, and I had trouble putting this down.
Had to get that out of my system.
So I thought the writing was, how do I say it, idiosyncratic. Particular to Kristen Ashley, particular to a self-published author, specific to a story that hasn't had an editor within 100 miles of it. (Yikes! And I thought 50 Shades was bad; KA's need for an editor is DIRE.) As my GR friend Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) said, "it's like all syntax was put into a blender." Oh, you betcha. KA's style seems to be like a free-form stream of consciousness thought parade from the 1st person POV of the heroine, occasionally switched up with a standard third-person narration from the Hero's perspective. I don't like to think what it says about ME that I could follow all that verbal diarrhea and garbled syntax without much of a problem. Or that I completely understood the thought processes.
This type of story is one of my favourites: a miscommunication throws 2 complete opposites into close quarters, some smoking chemistry and another favourite trope that I like to call "sponge bath and fever". Throw in a bit of a murder mystery and what you've got is an earthier, steamier, (more crudely written) Nora Roberts/Karen Robards contemporary romance.
The Hero of The Gamble, Holden Maxwell, is gruff, cranky, just a BIT chauvinistic, bossy, sarcastic and pretty old-fashioned under a super hot exterior. Finally, I got to meet one of the sources of all the screaming, sighing and posting man-candy on my GR feeds. I liked a lot of things about him - especially his habit of hooking his fingers in NIna's belt loops and pulling her into him.
(Here's an observation: About 17 years ago I moved from a city of about 200,000 to a much smaller one with a population of about 15,000. It's a mostly rural population, farming, ranching and oil and gas are the main industries and there are tons of really small towns surrounding this city. The first thing I noticed on moving here was the difference in the men ('cause I was single and trust me, I was paying attention). I hate to perpetuate a stereotype but small town men can be WAY more charming than those from a "big" city. They smile, they wink, they're friendly, they can be bit chauvinistic and old-fashioned, they do sometimes wear Henleys with jeans and boots, drink beer, and call you darlin' and babe. They smell good, they slow dance, they swear lots, they all know how to fix your car AND build you a deck and they can charm your pants off without you even realizing they're trying. There's a lot to be said for some of those boys. ;D )
And I've actually met guys that would have talked like this:
"If you told me you needed a timeout, first, I wouldn’t fuckin’ let you have one, second, I wouldn’t give you reason to fuckin’ want one, last, you took off anyway, I’d fuckin’ phone."
That, in a nutshell, are my thoughts after reading The Gamble. Of course, this is a trilogy, so I guess I'm going to have to read 'em all. I'm also curious to see if her characters are the same types from book to book, as I have a sneaking suspicion they are.
4 stars. Liked the story, the setting, the characters. Not so much the writing. I couldn't put it down once I started, and I can't for the life of me figure out why. ...more
Ok, so when I said I guessed I would have to read the rest of the trilogy (strictly out of curiosity, I'll have you know) what I should have said wasOk, so when I said I guessed I would have to read the rest of the trilogy (strictly out of curiosity, I'll have you know) what I should have said was that I was going to read it immediately after finishing The Gamble. And when I say immediately, I mean 3 clicks on my kindle.
I'm not going to squeal, and I'm not going to gush, nor am I going to post half-nekkid pictures of Joe Manganiello, Hugh Jackman, or Sawyer (although now that I think of it, he would work) in my review. Suffice it to say that I read this one much the same way I read the first one - completely absorbed and unable to put it down for long until I was done.
To KA's credit, while Sweet Dreams was a bit similar in feel to The Gamble the storylines were quite, quite different. I'm not sure which one I liked better. The whole "stuck together" story from The Gamble closely resembles the marriage of convenience trope, one of my all-time faves. The theme of this book - re-inventing yourself and finding the love of your life - is easy to relate to and I though KA handled it nicely.
Random thoughts from this book?
- Characters seem to be more of the same from Kristen Ashley, just as I suspected after reading The Gamble. Down to earth, plain-speaking small-town folks - in this case, bikers (to give them an a bad-boy edge??). She does have a knack for this. How does she do it when she's been gone from the US for years and is now in England?
- Why, why, why don't folks use pronouns in their speech?
- Call me a snob, but this lady was a buyer for a department store, and she dumps it all to wear Harley Davidson tank tops and jeans to be a waitress? Not that I haven't had dreams of dumping it all for a super hot guy, taking off to small town where everyone is family and job that you leave at the end of your shift. It does have a certain appeal.
- A biker/bounty hunter? Bad visions of Dog The Bounty Hunter and his wife running after felons on the lam threatened to overtake my enjoyment a couple of times. That was hard work bleaching Dog's braids, beads and bling out of my frontal lobe.
- And bossy? Tate was even more bossy than Max (from the first book). Yowza. I might have told him to go p*** up a rope more than once if I were the heroine, but he also sleeps curled up to her and recognizes when he's been a complete jackass.
Oh hell, I don't know. This book was too damn long, even longer than the first one. It was full of garbled syntax, just like the first one. Lots of run on sentences and stream of consciousness 1st person POV, like The Gamble.
The Hero of this book was an even bigger chauvinist than the Hero of the first in the series -- I shudder to think what's coming in the third one. There are only so many variations on modern-day alpha before you run smack into Complete Fucking Asshole. Once KA hits that point I don't know that I'll be able to read any more of her stuff.
But, for now, 4 stars. It kept me clicking pages on my kindle, I liked the characters, and she does write some pretty hot love scenes. Just as with the last book I can somehow understand the run-on sentences and meandering thought processes, though many people will have trouble with this.
I just keep thinking: Ms. Ashley, if you would just polish these up (and for God's sake, hire a COPY EDITOR!!) you could be as big as Nora Roberts. ...more