This Chick Read: After the Climb by Kristen Ashley

Duncan, Imogen, and Corey were childhood best friends. A friendship that lasted into adulthood. Duncan and Imogen took that friendship one step further building a love that burned hot and seemed as if it would last forever. Until it didn’t. When Corey died he left Duncan and Imogen a box that his will stated they must open together, so Genny brought the box to Duncan and what they found inside incinerated everything they’d once believed to be true. Duncan is determined to start over but will Genny let him close after his betrayal? Considering this is a romance novel, yes she does.

Duncan is now an activist billionaire outdoorsman having made his money building an outdoor retail empire and Genny is a famous A-list actor beloved by everyone. When they find out the doozy of a lie their best friend Corey told that separated the two of them they are destroyed and Genny isn’t sure she has the strength to build something again but Duncan has no qualms. He immediately makes his move but Genny doesn’t want to go through that pain again. Having both married and had kids the two of them are now in their 50’s and if it wasn’t for Genny’s daughter Chloe stepping in and setting a plan in motion to bring them together she may not ever have opened that door again.

I actually really liked Duncan and Genny but for me the kids stole the show in this novel. When her daughters and his sons enter the story the pages were filled with color, humor, and fun. Chloe with her stylish take no prisoners personality is the complete opposite of Sasha’s hippie sunshine smile and yet they make that family work. Duncan’s sons were also fun, and this novel made the combined family as cool as the Brady Bunch, with Genny’s ex filling an extra seat at the table.

This novel was written during the pandemic with the author polling her fans on Facebook for plot points, character names, etc. It was offered up free as a balm during the pandemic to those of us who are big Kristen Ashley fans. I think it did what it was meant to do, offer a light bandaid to a wounded world. It’s not the meatiest story but it did introduce some fun characters that will be used as the protagonists in some future novels. I’ve read better KA novels, but I’ve also read worse and enjoyed the few hours it took for me to read this novel. A job well done! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* After the Climb Special Edition (A River Rain Novel Book 1)

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This Chick Read: Dream Spinner (Dream Team #3) by Kristen Ashley

Hattie and Axl are next up in the Dream Team series where Lottie, a star at Smithy’s revue, pairs up her friends with the men from her Commando boyfriends business. Axl knows immediately that Hattie is the woman for him, the tension between them is intense. Unfortunately, Hattie has a lot of emotional baggage and doesn’t want to let Axl close. When she finds herself with a stalker he takes away her decision and moves her in with him for her protection. All of those walls she’s built up are stormed and Hattie finds herself falling in love.

The Dream Team series harkens back to the very popular earlier series called Dream Man where the head of Axl’s “commando’s”, Hawk has his own love story. The author returns to developing her characters and creating a woman in jeopardy story which bring our two main characters together. This is a plot device that has worked really well for Kristen Ashley in the past and one which I’ve enjoyed so far in the Dream Team series.

Hattie isn’t the only one who was some heavy baggage to work through in this novel. Axl also has his own daddy issues. I liked that this alpha male wanted to fix everything for Hattie, but she was given some rough edges to smooth over or at least be supportive about when Axl’s problems reared it’s ugly head. In today’s world it just wouldn’t have gone over well if Hattie didn’t become a strong partner for Axl. Todays readers want to read about women who will go the limit for their man.

I thought Dream Spinner was a solid KA novel. Was it my favorite in the series? No? I say that with a question mark because it wasn’t bad at all I just preferred Evie’s story from the second novel a little bit more. I did really enjoy Hattie’s dance background and though her performances sounded pretty cool and interesting. I also liked how her personal story was resolved with a happy ending. If you haven’t read the previous two novels I really don’t think you need to. Despite it being a group of girlfriends who all work together you aren’t missing anything by not reading the earlier novels. Feel free to pick this one up and enjoy. Heck, if you like it, you know you have two to immediately pick up and read!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher for my honest review and it was honest.

Click this link to purchase!* Dream Spinner (Dream Team Book 3)

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: Wild Fire and Wild Wind (Chaos #6.5 and #6.6) by Kristen Ashley

Wild Fire and Wild Wind are both novellas released under the 1001 Dark Nights umbrella. I’ve read a few other authors 1001 Dark Nights novellas and I will say that Kristen Ashley delivers the most complete story arc’s in her novellas leaving the reader satisfied as if they’d read an entire story. In fact, in Kristen Ashley’s case, I actually prefer a more succinct story as her longer novels sometimes get too wrapped up in descriptions of outfits and rooms on the way to finally telling the story. These two stories were short, but wrapped up the storyline of their father who died long ago. A father who was much loved by his Chaos MC brothers, leaving a legacy behind that both boys, now men have had to live up to. These two brothers, Dutch and Jaggar, have dealt with the death of their father in different ways and through meeting their ladies finally are able to deal with his death and his legacy as a Chaos MC brother.

WILD FIRE

Part of the legacy their father left behind was his love for his wife, Keely, and how he set eyes on her and she him and the rest was history. They were together from that moment on. Dutch follows in his fathers footsteps. Despite Georgie’s bad attitude when they first meet he’s undeniably drawn to her and once she drops that attitude he finds her kookiness “cute”. I wish I could say that I found her kookiness cute too, but unfortunately it wore a little thin for me. At first it was different, but as I kept reading I just couldn’t see why, other than their looks, these two totally different types of characters would be drawn to each other. I did like how she helped him deal with the emotions from his father’s legacy, so that redeemed her a small bit.

I did enjoy the story. Dutch was trying to help a troubled kid deal with the murder of his father. In true KA style, she brings in a bunch of characters from other novels to help. Of course, the Chaos MC brothers, his step-father Hound, but also Eddie and Hank from the Rock Chick series. I enjoyed how everyone rallied and that story arc was completed. One other thing that I loved about this novel is that it was more story than love scenes. In the past couple of years you never knew what kind of KA novel you were going to get. Hard core love scenes or a novel with a great story. In this novella you get more of the second than the first. I applaud that choice! ❤️❤️❤️❣️

Jaggar is the younger brother of Dutch, and his story feels different than his brothers. He, too has lived with the legacy of his father but he was just a tot when his father died and doesn’t remember him at all and had dealt with those emotions in a different way. He is a party guy, not taking anything seriously and running through women indiscriminately. However, he has a much deeper back story to his romance with the heroine, Archie that gives his story more gravitas.

A teenage Jaggar was visiting his father’s grave when he see’s a funeral going on at a grave nearby. He notices the teenage girl sitting in front of the grave and their eyes connect. He leaves a note on the headstone letting her know that although she is sad now, that things will get better, life will move forward. Over the next 10 years they connect briefly until they get to now when he see’s her chasing down the street after a young kid and decides to help out. He decides the timing is right for the two of them, but she is done. She feels betrayed that he’s stayed away over the years and that the promise in his note wasn’t kept. Archie is why this story is so good and as it goes on you want to know her even more. Unlike Georgie, Archie is serious and seriously cool.

The story arc in Wild Wind is focused around Archie and the kids she supports. These are latch-key kids who don’t have anywhere to go for a few hours before their parents get home. There is one kid in particular that Jaggar is drawn to, and he moves in to help when he realizes this kid is in trouble. Through helping him, he is able to deal with his feelings over his fathers death and with Archie’s help breaks through the emotional roadblock he has put up to avoid those feelings. For me, this was handled well and it helped me connect with Jaggar and Archie much more so than the story in Wild Fire did for Dutch and Georgie.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

If you have read these Chaos MC novels and know the story of John Black, how he died, and how that death affected the Chaos characters, I think you’ll enjoy these novellas. They feel very different than each other which is good because Jaggar and Dutch despite being brothers are nothing alike. Neither are Georgie and Archie. I did enjoy one book more than the other but I do think both of these were good solid stories and the romances made sense for the characters.

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: Still Standing (Wild West MC #1) by Kristen Ashley

Clara was married to who she thought of as the man of her dreams when the rug was pulled out from under her. He was arrested for embezzling life savings from the elderly to pay for her home and in a gated community and the Mercedes she drove. Duped by her husband and castigated by the general public, Clara retreated to a slum-like apartment trusting only her childhood friend. Except for that friend was married to a low-level gangster. Good intentions went bad when Clara agree’s to run errands for her friend’s husband, bringing her to the attention of some rather unsavory low-life’s. Which is how she meets Buck, President of the Aces High MC. He takes one look at Clara and decides it’s the beginning of them. Clara somehow misses that message until she runs into trouble again and Buck and his MC bail her out.

I feel like I’m on a roll with Kristen Ashley novels. I’m really enjoying them lately. Still Standing is a woman in jeopardy trope, which Kristen Ashley in her earlier novels did so well. Clara is a good girl that just doesn’t understand how and why she got herself into this position. Buck, as the president of an MC, is not the man she ever thought she’d end up with, but then look how her last husband turned out. On the surface he was bright, shiny, and clean but underneath he was dirty. Buck is kind of the reverse. On the surface he is rough and dirty, but he actually lives by a code and that code is brotherhood and honor. Clara see’s that and wants to be good enough for him. Unfortunately, she feels dirty and doesn’t see herself as being good enough for him. It’s a really interesting twist on the usual MC novel. I’ll admit I liked this pair as a couple. I also liked the way Kristen Ashley told the story. It really reminded me of what I loved so much about Mystery Man, Tyra and Tack’s story from long ago. Also, one of my favorite KA novels. Another good girl with a slightly unsavory MC President. This one not quite so clean as Buck and his brothers, but just as fascinating.

I have really high hopes for this newest MC series. There was some great physicality, but there was also a lot of story packed into this novel as well. It had a nice even balance and I didn’t find myself skimming through sex scenes to get to the plot. If you want to read a Kristen Ashley series from the start, I’d read this novel. As I said above, it has the feel of the Chaos novels, and if you like it you have 8 of those to go back and read. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Still Standing (Wild West MC Series Book 1)

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this novel through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: Free (Chaos #6) by Kristen Ashley

Rebel Stapleton’s best friend fell a victim to addiction which led her down the path to her ultimate death. Wanting revenge for her friends death Rebel goes undercover hoping to gather evidence and build a case against the people who killed her. She put her life on the line, which became unacceptable to many people, but mostly to Rush, a man that she hadn’t yet met, but who was determined to protect her.

With a name like Rebel you knew she’d be the perfect girlfriend to a biker guy named Rush. As with many of our alpha hero’s he took one look at her through binoculars no less, and decided she was the one for him. Despite her independence she quickly realized she was in over her head and seemed somewhat relieved that he swooped in to save her. Unfortunately she’d caught the eye of the bad guy who was also determined to make her his own. That was just not going to happen on Rush’s watch.

Free, the title for what might be the last book in this series. A concept that for the men of the Chaos MC means they can live their lives free and clear, having gotten out of the illegal game their predecessors had led them into. It also means that they let other people live their lives and they don’t pass judgement. I liked this concept and them for this book a lot. I just wish the story had been as simple as that theme. Free, the story was a convoluted mix of twists and turns that instead of being a series of reveals for the reader just created more conflict. I’ll admit this novel exhausted me and I’m a fan of this series.

There is always a bit of emotional drama in a KA novel. This had an overabundance of both but what it was missing was a little bit of the humor that balanced all of that dark drama. Some of her other novels found that balance which made those stories more enjoyable to read. This novel was dark after dark, only letting in a small amount of light which would be the romance of Rush and Rebel. I just wish the author hadn’t taken us on the other tangents which I felt were a little unnecessary and tainted my feelings for this book a bit.

So, I had mixed feelings for this book. ❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Free (Chaos Series Book 7)

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: Dream Maker (Dream Team #1) by Kristen Ashley

Evie Gardner is a technological genius but her family has always held her back. Always being asked to bail them out, or support them when they don’t have any cash she’s held off on her plans for her own life and taken a job at Smithie’s as a stripper. Only by showing herself off can she make enough money to save for college, if she wasn’t always having to hand it over to them. When her brothers bad choices land him in jail again, Evie expects to be called to fund his release. Instead she’s asked to meet with a sketchy guy who hands her a bag of drugs to keep safe. Thankfully she has Danny Magnussen on hand to help her deal with the fallout from that bag getting stolen. Now her family has put her life on the line and that is just not cool!

A true throw back to Kristen Ashley’s Rock Chick series, this was a fun romp that was more story than action, thank goodness! When this author started her career she mastered the women in jeopardy story, but one thing set hers apart. Her ladies had a girl clan that also rose to the occasion, not letting their alpha guys save the day and steal the show. OK, maybe those guys save the day but it’s nice to have a girl group to lean on and let loose with and the Dream Team is no different than the Rock Chick’s except they might have better heads on their shoulders.

Danny “Mag” Magnussan is not one of the Hot Guys, he’s one of the Commando’s and it was interesting to get a behind the scenes look at Hawk’s commando team and “where they are now.” Danny seems the perfect match for Evie, willing to step in and keep her safe but not wanting her to change who she is. I liked their balance of help and support they gave each other in this novel and it added a different element to KA’s normal action adventure sequence. It didn’t take away from the fun at all and added depth to their colorful life.

If you’re in the mood for an easy read, this series is a fun romp down memory lane. It was fun to re-visit characters from other series, but even more it gave me hope that this author might turn away from some of the hard core physical activity that she’s been writing more recently. This book was fun, sexy, and had a good girl gang. You can’t beat that for your weekend read! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase! Dream Maker (Dream Team Book 1)

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (12/21/2020)

The last weekend before Christmas and I was tucked away reading. Yes, reading! LOL. I actually had a Kristen Ashley book I needed to finish because the book was released last week and you know what? I really liked it which started my reading a couple other books of hers. I haven’t been this proliferate in quite some time. It felt good, honestly. Well, let’s get to it!

This post originated over on Book Date, so thanks for the idea and letting me continue on the discussion about what books I am reading.

JUST FINISHED

I read the second novel in this series first and was ecstatic that this author went back to her roots. The Dream Team series is a spin off of the Rock Chicks and so much fun!

JUST STARTED

Here’s the thing. I had this one on my Kindle and since I was reading Kristen Ashley I decided to pick this one up. For me, it’s a series that’s had it’s ups and downs, but this is the last book and they were resolving the underlying storyline (which I’d almost forgotten what it was), so I thought since I had just read two books that I really enjoyed I’d start this one. I didn’t hate it, but it had elements of her current writing that I’m not too fond of , the biggest being too much sex and not enough story!

My next book will definitely not be a KA novel. LOL. I think three in a row is too much, but I seriously enjoyed two out of the three!

Now that you know what I’ve been up to, what book have you dusted off and dug into?

Enjoy your Monday!

Deb

This Chick Read: Dream Chaser (Dream Team #2) by Kristen Ashley

After Lottie successfully set up their friend Evie and Mag, the rest of the Dream Team has been shying away from their hook-ups. Ryn Jansen doesn’t have any interest in Boone Sadler despite their obvious attraction to each other. She’s been let down by men before and isn’t willing to trust that he’ll be any different. When he shows up with information that her ex sister-in-law has been conning her out of money she’s upset for two reasons. She got conned by her family, but also Boone butted into her business! Despite his good reasons, Ryn is not happy but this time he isn’t giving up. When a bad guy kidnaps her for info, Boone becomes all alpha male claiming her as his, determined to get to the bottom of her kidnapping and to protect her with his life.

I did not read the first book in this series, Dream Maker, before I read Dream Chaser, but I certainly went to my kindle and downloaded it immediately upon finishing this novel. It was so much fun! The Dream Team series is a spin off of the Rock Chick series, one of my favorites. These novels were about fun, friends, and yes their alpha men, but the heart in these books make them easy to read and love. Dream Team was exactly the same, a return to the hay day of Kristen Ashley writing. Or at least when I liked her writing more.

What can I say about these characters? The Dream Team are strippers but like Julie Roberts in Pretty Woman, these strippers are only doing it for the money, not because they enjoy stripping. Like the Rock Chicks before them, there is an underlying plot running between the novels, so while I didn’t read Dream Maker first, if you have that chance, I’d read them in order. Also, I liked Dream Maker even more than I did Dream Chaser. Ryn has a family who takes advantage of her, taking her money, keeping her from pursuing her own dreams. Boone with his direct approach helps her come to terms with them.

As with KA’s more recent novels, Dream Chaser has some hard core sex scenes, but you know what? She did a lot of fade aways in this series too. It was a good blend of showing some action and not giving too much. Or at least it was to me. I like a story with my romance and I found it in this novel. In fact, this is why I started reading Dream Maker immediately upon finishing. This book took me back to why I had initially liked Kristen Ashley so much. Let’s hope she continues in this vein, or at least that there are a LOT of books in this series.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher for my honest review and it was honest.


Click this link to purchase! Dream Chaser (Dream Team, 2)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: Knight (Unfinished Hero #1) by Kristen Ashley

Some Spoilers Ahead!

Anya is going to night school while working a 9-5 job by day AND she fills in the extra hours building up her manicure clientele for the business she wants to open some day. Needless to say she doesn’t have a lot of free time on her hands, but when one of her girlfriends gets in a mood and wants to go out, Anya dresses up and goes to support her friend. She ends up at a private residence at a party held by this guy who is NOT a good guy. Done with the party she didn’t want to be at anyway she searches for the bag and jacket she left in a bedroom and reaches for the phone she see’s on the nightstand to call an Uber when she meets Knight, brother of the jerk throwing the party and kind of a jerk too. He does offer to drive her home, asks her a few questions about her life, and the next thing she knows her life starts to get a little easier.

I read this book when it first came out and because I read so many books a year I couldn’t remember anything other than I didn’t care for it that much. I decided to re-read it to see if my opinion had changed over time. Knight is the first novel in one of Kristen Ashley’s older series called Unfinished Hero’s. She shares in her prologue that this series is about that kernel of goodness in some not so very nice guys. The idea intrigued me. Yes, not everyone is 100% good, but you don’t usually see a romance novel where the hero makes choices the reader wouldn’t agree with and still ends up with his heroine, but in Unfinished Hero this is what happens. Knight is a nightclub owner but there is a lot of mystery about how he went from nothing to having the money to open the most prestigious and talked about club in their town. Anya has very good intuition and knows he’s not 100% good, but she’s had a really tough life where she’s had to make choices and understands that there are shades of bad and Knight is not the darkest shade.

OK, so we know Knight has some kind of mysterious source that got him to the point he could open this amazing nightclub, and KA drags out the anticipation so that Anya can fall for him completely. When his nefarious brother arranges for her to find out what else Knight is involved with she chooses to believe in the good in him and not get scared away. Now, I do believe there are shades of good and bad, but I would have a really hard time overlooking the fact that he owned a stable of women. Now, this isn’t the first time someone has glorified hookers, think Pretty Woman. I mean, who wouldn’t love the hooker with a heart of gold. But the man who runs the group of them? It is still hard for me to think he’s a hero. I’m sorry. There were moments that I really liked in this book. I loved that he wanted to take care of Anya and see her do well. I guess that’s pretty much what I liked about him. He wasn’t the most emotional guy in the world, he was a control freak (in and out of the bedroom), and there wasn’t a traditional HEA in Anya’s future. He wasn’t ever going to marry her. When you’re reading it it seems like it all makes sense, but when you’re done reading and thinking back on everything the fantasy falls kind of flat.

If you like reading books about not so nice guys and their women, then this is probably the series for you, and in the right frame of mind, I may like it as well. Re-reading this one during a pandemic with a political environment like we’ve been in may not have been the best time for me to pick this one up again. ❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase! Knight (Unfinished Heroes) (Volume 1)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: Jagged (Colorado Mountain Series #5) by Kristen Ashley

The Colorado Mountain series is probably my third or fourth favorite KA series, with the Rock Chick and Burg series leading the pack. Jagged was released in 2013 and falls into what I call the pre erotica period of Kristen Ashley books. Her style is always very sexy, but her more recent books are more sex than plot and Jagged, thank goodness has a bit of both.

Our hero and heroine Zara and Ham have a bit of history. Ham, as a traveling bartender, had previous lived and worked in town with Zara and they had struck up a pretty casual relationship. At least on his side. Not wanting to be tied down to either one town or one woman Ham has always kept things light. Zara was a woman that remained under his skin. After surviving a serial killer (previous novels plot), Ham decides that life is short and after Zara reaches out to make sure he’s ok he shows up on her doorstep and decides now is the right time. Except it isn’t that time for Zara. Until he digs in and proves to Zara that this time he will stick around.

I liked Zara a lot. She is one of the more real heroines Kristen Ashley has written. She is a real woman with real problems and manages life in a way that her readers can identify with, there are ups and downs. Ham I had a harder time with. First, there was the name Ham. Yes, I know, it was a nickname and Zara was the only one that called him that, but to me it didn’t read cute. It read weird. He was definitely Alpha, like KA’s normal hero’s, and I do really like that aspect of her novels but something felt a little off in their love story. It may have been because he’s had a relationship with February Owens the heroine from the first novel in the Burg series who I absolutely loved. There was always a little bit of a comparison in my mind and although I liked Zara, I think that comparison was a little unfair. Feb had the whole serial killer stalker thing going on and Zara? She was a normal woman. I liked her, but there wasn’t a need for Ham to be a savior. Ms. Ashley does excel at those action plots and Jagged seemed a little tame.

I’m not saying I didn’t like this novel because I did! The sex hadn’t yet gotten over the top as the later KA novels have, and their relationship was nice. I guess that was it. They were nice but it just lacked that little bit of excitement.

If you like KA novels this is a solid effort and worth your 6-7 hours of reading time if for no other reason than to remind her readers how much they liked the Burg series. Hmm, maybe I will re-visit ‘For You’ and read Feb and Colton’s story again.

❤️❤️❤️❣️

Click this link to purchase!* Jagged (Colorado Mountain (5))

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.