bounty, by kristen ashley

bountyFirst and foremost—I met her!!! I met Kristen Ashley at the 2016 RT Convention in Las Vegas!!! She is one of my most favorite authors, as evidenced by the fact that I’ve read about 30 of her books. I was so tongue-tied that I was only able to marginally fan-girl over her. Squee!!! (This meeting in no way influences my review of her latest book.)

what went right…
Bounty is a clear evolution of Ashley’s writing. For as big a fan as I am, I have been less than happy with her last few books. Her plug and play alpha heroes with their Neanderthal speech patterns have left me wanting to throw my iPad at the wall. Not this time! Not only does Deke, the hero, speak in complete sentences, he stays true to who he is throughout the book. You don’t see him transform into some shell of the character he once was in the beginning of the book.

Similarly, Justice does the same. She’s a well-known musician and new in town. She’s looking to establish some roots at the same time Deke is meant to wander to open road. Together, their voyage and discovery of each other and their deepest desires proves for a really great read. While he’s transforming her fixer upper into a home and she’s finding her way out of the spotlight, their meeting from 7 years prior is seemingly forgotten, by some…

There was such engaging dialogue and character development that you almost forgot to expect a classic Ashley twist. But it was there and it didn’t disappoint. Initially, I thought it wasn’t needed, but in retrospect it would’ve been a rather anticlimactic book had there not been one.

the verdict…
This is the penultimate book in the Colorado Mountain series so sadly, we can only expect 1 more. Why?!?!? You see many characters of old–Tate (love me some Tate), Wood, Nina and Max–who started it all…

Yes, there are a few incoherent rambling diatribes, but not like the ones we’ve been subjected to in the past. You can clearly see Ashley has either listened to her readers, gotten a better editor, grown as a writer and fixed her own mistakes, or all of the above. Whatever the reasons, Bounty is a fun, heartfelt read and I’m looking forward to more from Ashley. (Did I mention I met her?!?!?)

rating:

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Book Review: Kaleidescope

I have read so many of Kristen Ashley’s books it’s not even funny. She has several series and I just love so many of them. Kaleidoscope is part of Ashley’s Colorado Mountain series, which is one of my faves of hers. (It’s also a primary reason I have been so infatuated with moving to Colorado!)

In a nutshell:
Kaleidoscope follows the story of Jacob (Deck) Decker and Emmanuelle (Emme) Holmes. They were best friends, years ago. She was a bit frumpy in those days and he was dating, and went on to get engaged to her best friend. They connected back then on more than a physical level, but always respected the boundaries that were in place because he was taken. But he’s not anymore.

Fast forward many years and Emme is now the successful manager of her family’s construction business. Deck is…well, it’s hard to describe what Deck is. Law enforcement hires him for the cases they can’t break and he also works some on his own. Private investigator. Commando. Super sleuth. All of the above? Anyway, he’s working a case with the local police department that–unbeknownst to her–involves Emme and her boyfriend. Yeah, now she’s taken. Oh, and her frumpy days are long gone.

As Emme works to restore her dilapidated, historic home and Deck works to make sure she’s safe, they begin to realize what was between them all those years ago is stronger than ever.

Tara’s Take:
This is in my top ten of Ashley’s books. It’s not a traumatic, angst filled tale. The heart of the story is about two people reconnecting many years later and figuring out how they work. Yes, there’s some intrigue thrown in, but it’s more of an aside than the primary focal point.

I found this book to be refreshing. Who hasn’t had things in their past shape who they are today? Who hasn’t felt lonely and wished for more, even though they were afraid of what that might mean? The feelings expressed by the hero and heroine in this book were true to form and had me thinking, I can relate. Which only made this story that much more engrossing.

Side Note:
One of the many things I love about Ashley’s books is the fact that the characters aren’t 20. More often than not, her main characters are older 30’s to mid-40’s. Realizing I’m dating myself, it makes it that much easier for me to identify with them. We’ll just leave it at that. The male characters are strong and not ‘broken’ like so many mainstream love stories these days. It’s usually the female character that is working through some issues and the man is right there to support her and hold her up when she needs it. You gotta love that!

Book Review: Jagged

It feels like forever since I’ve reviewed a Kristen Ashley book. She is by far, one of my most favorite romance writers and authors in general. So when I found out that she would be writing another novel in her Colorado Mountain series, I marked my calendar! Literally…I wrote the release date on my calendar; which was November 5th and I finished Jagged yesterday, November 6th. Without a doubt, it falls into my top 5 Kristen Ashley books. Up there with Motorcycle Man, Sweet Dreams, Mystery Man, and I can’t choose what would round out the 5th and those are by no means in order by love (I can’t do that either). Alas, let’s dive in.

Jagged tells the story of Graham Reece aka Ham aka Reece and Zara Cinders. We met Reece in Ashley’s For You (which could be in my top 5…but so could At Peace…but I digress). Reece has been a bit of a rolling stone for the majority of his adult life. Zara has been a Gnaw Bone, CO staple the entirety of hers. She was married. He was married. Both divorced and having fulfilled each other’s emotional and ‘physical’ needs for years, things begin to ‘shift’. 

During the recession–yes, THE RECESSION–Zara loses her house to foreclosure and her small business goes under, all in the midst of her divorce. She finds herself in an unsafe apartment complex, working for minimum wage at the local home store. Reece/Ham rides back into town–yes, he has a Harley–and takes up residence at some posh condos seeing as how he’s the new manager at The Dog. Let the fun begin! Reece and Zara are so down-to-earth and relatable, you almost feel like you know them. Well, if you hang out with super hot biker/bar managers–my personal dream.

Unlike some of Ashley’s other books, there is no kidnapping and nail-biting suspense in this book, but that doesn’t make it any less an intriguing page-turner. (Did I mention I read it in a day???) Your heart-strings play a symphony for all that Zara has had to endure, abuse, loss, etc. And Reece as well, his problems with women, while extreme, are understandable. Ladies–we aren’t perfect and men really do have feelings. There are ups and downs throughout the book and of course, some steamy bedroom (and various other room) scenes. For almost 300 pages, this is a quick read. The characters pull you in, you see some familiar faces that are always entertaining. I think I’m going to have to go back and re-read some of those ‘old’ Kristen Ashley novels…

Kaleidoscope is next in this particular Ashley series and my calendar is already marked for its February 4th ebook debut!