This Chick Read: Taking the Leap (River Rain #3) by Kristen Ashley

Alexandra Sharp knows she has to get over this crush she has on her co-worker “Rix” Hendrix. She stumbles, stutters, and glances away whenever he’s near and he can’t help but notice. However, his own insecurities make him think her discomfort is because of his prosthetics, not because she finds him attractive. Until they are out for drinks one night to celebrate and they get a chance to connect. Alex is never going to take the chance, despite having lied to her sister about her dating Rix and is forced into saying he’ll be her plus one at Blake’s wedding. Rix takes advantage of the situation to get to know Alex the shy, beautiful woman who has feelings for him.

This really was a very simple story arc for Alex and Rix. Co-workers who plan to pretend they are a couple for the purpose of protecting Alex from her socialite and kind of mean sister, and parents. Rix plays all the right angles stating they need to get to know each other in order to get their story straight and feel comfortable. That comfortableness quickly advances into a physical relationship and their pretend status becomes permanent. However, there are emotional subtleties that each character needs to overcome in order to advance their relationship emotionally. Taking the Leap is as straightforward a romance as Kristen Ashley knows how to write and Alex and Rix are characters you can root for and can’t help but like. I did.

For me, the story became energized when Rix and Alex got to New York and were mixing with her high society family. Her sister Blake’s bride-zilla attitude and her mother’s OMG behaviour added relevance as to why Alex was so quiet and shy. Rix’s protective nature came out and you forgot that he was a man with amputated legs. He was all alpha male. Out of all those scenes with her family I especially liked the quiet moments of bonding between Alex and her dad which were sweet and hopeful.

Taking the Leap had moments where Rix and Alex touched on all of the emotions, but it was the wedding scene that struck me as most memorable and man did I laugh! Without giving away any details, I’ll just say that the family bonded over an enemy and the way it went down was all I’d hoped it would be.

I had high hopes for Alex and Rix, and overall I liked them a lot. They were a good pairing and seemed to compliment each others strengths and weaknesses. However, they paled in comparison to the strength and joy in Chloe and Judge’s story. Those two will forever be my favorites in this series, but this book did not disappoint. For those of you who want to jump right in, yes, you can read this as a stand alone, but at least start with Chasing Serenity because the back story will help you with these characters histories and you’ll enjoy your journey a bit more. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link and purchase this book!* Taking the Leap: A River Rain Novel

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This Chick Read: The Girl in the Mist (Misted Pines #1) by Kristen Ashley

Actress and author Delphine LaRue needs a secret retreat from a crazy stalker and her security team recommends a house on a lake in the northwest town of Misted Pines. Delphine falls in love with the house and starts renovating when she sees a young girl in the mist. Then she finds out that there is a killer in Misted Pines, their sheriff is incompetent, and her hot neighbor is the man the town is relying on solving the mystery and keeping their town safe.

When I saw that Kristen Ashley was writing a romantic thriller I was so excited! She does a great job writing women in jeopardy novels, and The Girl in the Mist branches off from that trope into a mystery. Was it perfect? No. Was it fun and enjoyable? Yes. I loved that KA is trying something new and I hope she sticks with it, this book holds so much promise!

Delphine LaRue differs from other KA heroines in that she is slightly older. She’s 53, has been married twice, and has two grown daughters. Despite that slight age difference, Delphine is the same kind of heroine in other novels from this author. She is sweet, funny, totally likable, pretty, and quirky. The hero is pretty similar to other alpha heroes in her novels although he is older as well. Hot, stoic, strong, dependable, and did I say hot? Cade is an ex Navy Seal and FBI Profiler, which makes him somewhat secretive, but also totally smart. What we come to find out is that he’s also a legend in that area and the town totally depends on him for their safety.

I think the Girl in the MIst does a good job at setting an eery mood. There’s a stalker,a killer, and the mystery wasn’t one that I could figure out easily. I’ve read some reviews trashing this novel and I just don’t see how it could be seen as anything but entertaining! It’s a bit of a slow burn novel which is different for this author and that could possibly make some of her readers mad but not me! I am very happy with this energetic, fun, romp in a spooky little town.

If you are a Kristen Ashley fan expect a few changes, but in essence it’s the same style of book she typically writes. There is a bit of a mystery, our characters don’t immediately jump in the sack, and she spends time setting up the story. All things I can get behind and enjoy. I rate this one as a solid must read! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* The Girl in the Mist: A Misted Pines Novel

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This Chick Read: Golden Trail (The Burg #3) by Kristen Ashley

Tanner Layne and Raquel Merrick fell in love when they were young. Happiness reigned supreme until Rocky left suddenly without any explanation, moving back in with her family. Heartbroken and drunk, Tanner makes the mistake of sleeping with a woman who then becomes pregnant and doing the right thing, he marries her. They go on to have another boy before he divorces her and moves across country to get away from his memories. After many years he moves back to be close to his kids and becomes shot while undergoing an investigation. This incident brings Rocky back into his life. At first he’s not sure he wants her there, but then he sees her goodness and holds tight. This time, willing to fight her demons with her to keep her in his life.

I am re-reading the Burg series, and recalling why I’m a fan of this author. Tanner and Rocky’s story is good old fashioned Kristen Ashley. Full of emotional angst, drama, romance, laughter, and tears Golden Trail still has the KA sizzle, but it also has a great story intertwined with all of that heat. For a few years this author was trying new things and I’ll admit, they just weren’t for me. Golden Trail reminds me of her more recent books like Still Standing where the men are alphas and their actions were filled with emotions.

Reading a novel like Golden Trail, after not having read it for years was like coming home to one of my favorite stories. I did remember the emotional trauma that filled this story but it didn’t tint my memories with anything but gold. This is a really good book folks and if like me, you haven’t read it for awhile I would recommend picking it up again soon. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Golden Trail (The ‘Burg Series Book 3)

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This Chick Read: At Peace (The Burg #2) by Kristen Ashley

Widow, Violet Winters and her two daughters, Kate and Keira, move in next door to Joe Callahan. From the instant they meet sparks fly and Violet gives in to her passion with Joe hoping that love might again be in her life. What she doesn’t realize is that Joe’s past is filled with pain and he’s buried those kinds of emotions deep. Knowing he needs to let her go, he cuts her loose breaking her and her girls hearts. What he doesn’t realize is that Violet has a stalker, one that killed her ex and is looking to make her his. Joe has to fight his own demons to help protect Violet and in doing so he realizes that she and her girls fill up that empty place in his heart to bursting.

It’s been a few years since I’ve read this book but I instantly remember the heat and tension that fill the pages. The book is named At Peace because Violet and her daughters finally bring that peace to Joe’s life, but as you’re reading it it’s anything but filling me with peace. This novel is action-filled and brings the sizzle into every scene that has Violet and Joe in it. Can two people really have chemistry that’s this intense? That’s a question a lot of readers probably ask themselves, but regardless of if they’ve ever felt it in this way they enjoy the feelings that are written into these pages.

As with the first novel in this series, At Peace is a woman in jeopardy romantic thriller. Violet is running away from the Chicago mafia, the man in charge having taken an instant like to her looks after killing her husband. It takes a lot of cajones to kill a womans husband and they try to make her yours. Well, luckily, a security specialist to the stars lives next door and Detective Alec Colton lives across the street! Vi moved into the right neighborhood because nothing will happen to her family while living under their protection. Unless Violet herself chooses to let it in.

This novel was just as much fun as the first in the series, and just as I promised, the Burg reunites to help protect Vi and so we see some of the characters we learned to love (and hate) in the first novel reappear. It’s nice to get a glimpse into how those lives have moved forward in the year or so since the end of the previous novel, but it’s Vi, Joe, Kate, and Keira who are front and center in At Peace and you do not want to miss their story if you haven’t read it yet. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

Click this link to purchase this book!* At Peace (The ‘Burg Series Book 2)

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This Chick Read: For You (The Burg #1) by Kristen Ashley

Colt and February were a legendary couple. High school sweethearts and destined to always be together until one night it ended and only February knew why. Years later, after they both were married and then divorced, Feb is back in town to help run the family bar. When one of their customers is murdered behind the bar, it’s Colt that sent in to investigate and what he finds pushes them back together. He becomes her protector and their passion reignites.

This is the third time I’ve read For You. This story about the fated couple who somehow drift apart to be brought back together by a serial killer is seriously good. This woman in jeopardy romantic thriller is one of my favorites, and when the story and tension backs up the promise of great characters you know you will keep coming back. Every few years I find myself picking it back up again.

February is the woman that every man wants and every woman wants as their best friend. She’s gorgeous, loyal, and funny. She is a hard woman to resist and Alexander Colton doesn’t have a reason to resist any longer. The novel starts with them being distant with each other and as the danger amps up and people close to Feb are being killed the tension threatens to explode. It does, in very hot detail. This is one of those mysteries where you are on the edge of your seat but the romance has you relaxing back and dreaming of your own alpha hero. One of the best early Kristen Ashley novels, if you haven’t read it you need to give it a look.

This author writes great romance novels, but what I really love about her books are the friendships. She gives you background into the surrounding characters to the extent you either love or hate them and some of them turn up as the heroine/hero’s in a future novel. Also, you know that you aren’t seeing the last of them, that they will take part, even in a small way in a future story. So never fear, if you love Feb and Colt, you’ll see them again! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

Click this link to purchase!* For You (The ‘Burg Series Book 1)

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This Chick Read: Dream Keeper (Dream Team #4) by Kristen Ashley

Single mom Pepper has always been attracted to Auggie Hero, but her plan is to provide a solid home for her daughter Juno and that means no men. Her daughter has other plans. She’s seen all of her moms friends meet the loves of their lives and she wants that for her own mom and she knows it’s not going to happen with her dad. Pepper and Auggie both have a LOT of baggage but what they could have with each other makes working through their problems worth it.

I really liked the characters in this book! Auggie and Pepper had a lot in common including a messed up family life. What Pepper has built with her daughter Juno is something that Auggie never had for himself and reading their story really touched my heart. As with a lot of Kristen Ashley’s men, Auggie was very alpha. He was a tough hombre, with very few words, but when he spoke he had important things to say. KA did a really good job with his internal thoughts because without those I wouldn’t have an inkling on what type of guy he really was, but those emotional rivers ran deep and he felt a LOT for Pepper and Juno. It was truly sweet.

As with my favorite Rock Chick novels, this novel is a woman in jeopardy novel. Pepper’s jeopardy was a little more emotional than physical but there was one moment that we got to see Auggie’s commando skills come into play and that made the book. I love KA’s retro Rock Chick-ish novels and this series as an offshoot of that series definitely plays on that vibe.

Do you like the older Kristen Ashley novels like I do? If so, you will really enjoy Dream Keeper. It’s the fourth in the series and while it can stand alone, I think you’ll like it more if you’ve read the others first. Pepper was supposed to be the last of Lottie’s friends to be set up but the reader is led to believe that there will be three more and we were introduced to three additional commando’s that need ladies to help make the man. I’m looking forward to seeing where this author takes this series and can’t wait for the next book. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Dream Keeper (Dream Team Book 4)

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

This Chick Read: Chasing Serenity (River Rain #1) by Kristen Ashley

Chloe PIerce, daughter of famous Tennis player Tom Pierce and Hollywood icon and actress Imogen Swan, is beautiful, fashionable, and fierce. Judge Oakley works for her mother’s new boyfriend and old love Duncan Holloway at his outdoor retail empire in the philanthropic division. He loves to hike and camp, but he also loves women in spike heels who have sass and Chloe PIerce is all of that and more. When they meet, sparks fly, and when she lets him in her life he sees that she has a world of hurts that she hides deep inside and that he’s the man to see her through.

There was so much depth to these characters. As the oldest child to famous parents, Chloe has always tried to hold her family together. When her parents divorce Chloe is obviously upset but she puts on a good face and stays strong because that’s what’s expected. When her beloved Uncle Corey kills himself and his lies are revealed she again stays strong but inside she is unraveling. Judge is there when she breaks and it is his strength that holds her up.

Chloe is similar to other Kristen Ashley female protagonists but Judge is a different kind of hero. He has moments of alpha, definitely, but was also sensitive and empathetic. It was so refreshing and unexpected for a Kristen Ashley hero. The second half of the novel was all Judge’s story and it was Chloe’s turn to be strong. These two balanced each other so well.

Next up is Rix and Alex and the author spent a good bit of time setting up their story. What do we know so far? There is a big misunderstanding that will be standing in their way. I can’t wait for the book to come out in November. KA is on a hot streak and I hope she keeps up with this great writing! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Chasing Serenity: A River Rain Novel

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

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)

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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.

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