This Chick Read: Smoke and Steel (Wild West MC #2) by Kristen Ashley

Hellen Moynihan has goals. She’s strong, independent, and when her boyfriend isn’t showing her the respect she deserves she cuts him loose. Respect is of utmost importance and when she see’s a friend of hers being taking advantage by a man, she speaks up trying to get her friend to respect herself. Dustin “Hardcore” Cutler is a man who has dished out vengeance and in the past to one person who didn’t deserve the treatment. He and his MC brothers are on the path of redemption trying to make up for this past act. When he is put on Hellen’s detail, watching over her as a favor to her brother-in-law, he knows she is exactly the type of woman he’s attracted to, but because of his past acts he thinks he doesn’t deserve happiness. Yet, he somehow allows Hellen into his life and fells the warmth of that redemption soothe his soul.

I don’t typically read MC novels and in fact probably only read them when written by Kristen Ashley. I prefer hero’s to be “good” men, but I’ll admit there is something about a bad man who makes good that is appealing in a fantasy read. Core was just such a man. He and his brothers portrayed a horrible act, one that as a woman is not easily redeemed in a novel, but the fact that he beat himself up so much about what he did shows that he has that kernel of goodness inside his heart. Of course in real life I wouldn’t be so forgiving but since this is a novel I wanted to see where this story would lead. I really kind of liked it.

Core had that mix of gruff and surly mixed with an old world charm. Right from the start he treated Hellen with the respect that she was looking for, opening doors, holding her hand, helping her put on her coat, etc. He was also looking out for her safety. At times that could be difficult because Hellen was determined to help her friend with a man who was stealing from her. She and her girl gang came up with a scheme that would put her in harms way and Core would magically appear to remove them from harm. Classic KA storytelling a la Rock Chicks, which I do like a lot.

The heat level on this romance is sizzling hot, so if you are looking for a tamer storyline between the sheets this may not be the novel you’re looking for. I’ll admit to skimming the romance time to get back to the story, but luckily there were only a couple of more detailed scenes, so easy to avoid if you’re comfort level needs that.

I enjoyed this second novel in the series. Core and Hellen were opposites who when together made a great couple and their story was fun to read. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Smoke and Steel

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This Chick Read: The Will (The Magdalene Series #1) by Kristen Ashley

I own almost all of this author’s novels and lately I’ve been re-reading some of them and writing small reviews, which I didn’t do when I initially read the books. I purchased The Will in 2015 when it came out and funny enough, didn’t remember it all other than a general sense that I’d liked it. It turns out I was correct, although I saw a few things this time that I didn’t note when I first read it.

The premise is that Josephine Malone had a beloved grandmother who lived in an awesome house in a small town. Josephine would spend summers with her and as an adult would come to town and visit with her frequently. When her grandmother dies, Josephine inherits the house and comes back to town for the funeral and to go through her grandmothers things. She has spent her adult life as an admin assistant for a famous photographer, collecting knowledge about clothes, fashion, music, and famous people which makes her very interesting to read about. Anyway, when its time for the will to be read, Josey and ex boxer, strip club owner, Jake Spear are the only two people at the will. Apparently Jake and Lydia were great friends, something that was news to Josephine but she shrugged it off. What couldn’t be shrugged off was that Lydia gave Josephine to Jake in the will. Of course, you can’t give one person to another, but it did open the door to the two of them getting to know each other better, which was the point. The Will is their story.

What I really liked about this story is that these two very different people over-looked all of their differences to just be together. Isn’t that what love is all about? Josephine became Josey, despite her upper class dialect and well, Jake didn’t change very much at all, but he did find all that was Josey cute and wonderful which was good enough for me. He was a father to three children, something that KA writes about frequently, and Josey becomes inseparable from those kids, enmeshed in their lives almost immediately. I liked the family dynamic, but I also loved the story between Josey and Jake.

I won’t say this was the most original book that Kristen Ashley has ever written. She has a formula that works for her and this story followed that formula. It didn’t really hold any surprises for me, but I enjoyed reading the story and getting to know these characters again. I spent the afternoon (and evening because boy her books can be lengthy!) with old friends and they made me feel good! That’s what a good romance novel is supposed to do for it’s reader, isn’t it?


Click this link to purchase this book!* The Will

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This Chick Read: Lucky Stars (Ghosts and Reincarnation #5) by Kristen Ashley

I have been re-reading some books that I’ve read many years ago by favorite authors and recently grabbed this book when it was on sale. Lucky Stars is the last book in the Ghosts and Reincarnation series, written early on in Kristen Ashley’s career. This series has a haunted theme and each book has been fun to re-read and has reminded me why I always give this author a look even after she went deeper towards writing erotica (thank goodness she seems to have backed off of that a bit). Lucky Stars is about Belle Abbot a young woman who is rather shy and normal (but gorgeous) who happens upon a bus that is submerged in water and goes in after all of the children and driver gaining a bit of notoriety that she tries to ignore. She meets James Bennett while on a date with his brother and feels an immediate connection to the point that she does something she has never done, sleeps with him on the night she has met him. That one act starts the two of them on a fated journey, one that they have lived through in a previous life.

There were many things to like in this novel. I loved the premise of the two of them being reincarnated and destined for a future together. What woman doesn’t love the idea that their one true love is written in the stars? Belle, while shy is a lovely, very nice woman and very easy to like. She does have a bit of a run away and hide attitude that made me want to skip pages but I did like her and when you find out the reason for it you understand where she’s coming from. However, it takes a really long time to get to that point. James is this author’s typical alpha male, strong and thinks he knows what’s best for everyone. He is also stubborn and almost misses his chance and gaining his one true love. There are goofy side characters, some of which carry through from other novels in this series. I always enjoy the other characters in KA’s novels and get the sense that she has a ton of fun writing them and figuring out their characters. It comes through on the page.

The reincarnation story is what makes this book both enjoyable and also predictable. They were meant for each other because of something that happened to them in a past life. This story has been done repeatedly and there weren’t too many surprises but I did love reading it anyway. Lucy Stars was just a fun way to spend a weekend. I enjoyed my time reacquainting myself with Belle, James and the gang and seeing them reach for and attain their happily ever after. I think this is why I re-read novels that I can’t quite remember but know I liked. It’s like seeing a best friend from your past and picking right back up again gabbing away like you’ve never stopped talking.

You can read each book in this series separately. Other than a few minor characters who show up in each book but aren’t really integral to the love story itself each novel stands on its own. However, if you’re like me you’ll like it better if you read them in order. They are all a lot of fun. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Lucky Stars

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This Chick Read: Gossamer in the Darkness(Fantasyland #5.5) by Kristen Ashley

The Count of Derryman has a secret. His daughter, who has been betrothed since birth to the handsome and powerful Marquess of Remington, fell and hit her head when she was six and has the mental acuity of a child. Not wanting to give up that association with such a powerful house, the Count of Derryman hears of an alternate universe that twins this universe. Determined to find his daughters twin and bring her over he hires a witch, who succeeds. What the Count doesn’t realize is that this Maxine is no pushover.

The Fantasyland series is one of my favorites by this author so when I heard she was writing a novella set in that world I was excited to get my hands on it. This fairytale proves that every woman can find her prince and the modern Maxine wishes Loren could be hers. It wouldn’t be a true fairytale without an evil character and the Count certainly fits the bill. Holding her mother and “twin” sister hostage in order to make Maxine do as he pleases the author didn’t take long to resolve that short conflict. Which was great because we got to spend the rest of the book with fun characters who were falling in love, learning their new world, and spreading the joy of living in a world full of color.

What I love about Kristen Ashley’s novellas is that they are the length of a short full length novel. Her real novels are very long. You’d think she’d have a tough time get the full story arc in this short length novel but she really does a great job of developing the characters, letting the reader in on the storyline quickly, and cut down on some of the descriptions that make her regular novels so lengthy. I really enjoyed this novella a lot and didn’t feel like I was missing anything that would lead to that overall enjoyment.

Now, if you have never read a Fantasyland novel, you may have some difficulty falling into a world where cats and birds speak to women, but if you have an open mind you may find yourself totally enjoying the experience. You’ll never know unless you pick it up and give it a shot. It is very different than her contemporary romances in the best way possible, but you’ll find similar character types that will help get you settled into another amazing KA story. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this novel!* Gossamer in the Darkness

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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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