Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ride Steady (Chaos #3) by Kristen Ashley @KristenAshley68

Advance copy received in exchange for an honest review
Euphoric feelings consumed me as I queued Ride Steady on my kindle, knowing I’m about to visit a world I dearly missed…On a forecourt off Broadway sits RIDE and the brothers of the Chaos Motorcycle Club. It’s home to my FAVORITE bikers. This time, it’s Joker’s story. He, as well as Carissa, took my hand and led me on a profound journey chock-full of everything I cherish from a Kristen Ashley novel.
Heart-racing drama.
Hardship and despair.
Love of family, brother-hood and sister-hood.
Hope and healing.
And most importantly…undying desire and passion.
No one pens a story like this author. She has the power to bring me to an entirely different level. Ride Steady was one of those reads I could not put down, grabbing me from the first word, then rocking my world with an overwhelmingly emotional epilogue. It was an absolutely remarkable experience.

Carson Steele…

In the prologue we see a young Carson and let me tell you, his suffering made my heart bleed. Treated terribly by an abusive bastard of a father, very little joy cut through the darkness that suffocated his life. The only gentleness that touched his world were a handful of friends, a concerned teacher, observing a lovingly playful father and son in the shadows of a mechanic’s garage and a lovely young girl - who fueled Carson with hope and whose light served as a means of escape from his horrors. For years, Carson worshiped Carissa from afar and believing he was unworthy of her beauty completely destroyed me.
When deciding to free himself from his father’s tyranny, Carson sees Carissa one last time, and she foretold the unimaginable – a future filled with hope.

How I desperately hoped Carson would find exactly what he deserved – he made my heart ache. His childhood left him emotionally scarred and feeling worthless and me a blubbering, tearful mess. 


Working hard to turn his life around, Chaos eventually became his family.

With Tack as their leader, they took Joker on as one of their own, offering brotherhood, freedom and the beginnings of a ‘beautiful life’.

However, Joker held his cards close and remained mysterious. I freaking love a damaged, broken hot guy and Joker was seriously emotionally wrecked. He’s a fighter, a survivor, but the demons of his past still haunt his gorgeous steel gray eyes.  And on a chance encounter, on Interstate 25, this badass biker finds himself facing beauty from his past…Carissa.

The once cheerleader and homecoming queen, now recently divorced (from a major dirt bag son-of-a-bitch ass that I freaking loathed) and new mom to the super adorable Travis, finds herself in a bind. Life has not been kind to Carissa and she too pulled on my heartstrings. Stranded, all alone and overcome with insecurities, I just wanted to embrace her and make all her woes disappear. Her life takes a turn when she encounters the uber-sexy bad boy biker who saves the day…Joker. 

I simply loved Carissa. She was beyond sweet and her character radiated an aura of gentleness, compassion and kindness. She loves to a fault and is funny in a cute, quirky kinda way. I adored her courage and optimism despite the constant blows she’s endured.  Her character, for me, possessed a hint of innocence – especially when entering the world of Chaos MC, where she is lovingly welcomed. I adored her tenacity. Carissa wanted Joker and was determined to insert herself into his life, not allowing him to freeze her out.

Their scorching romance was amazingly moving and their back and forth chit-chat was hysterical. Joker is a supreme bad ass with an icy cold exterior freezing out all from seeing his inner turmoil. But once Carrie and baby Travis broke down his walls, I fell in love with his tenderness. How he loved her and their off the charts passion, had me swooning and melting. I fell deep for all things Joker – his grittiness, his passion, and his torments – he was the perfectly shattered hero I wanted to see healed. As with all of KA Alpha’s – Joker’s edgy side remained raw, unbelievably sexual, dominant and demanding. And that’s exactly what I crave from her men. They never loose their sense of command and control.

What touched me the most was the blossoming relationship between Joker and Travis. It was so endearing witnessing an insanely sexy man take-on such a sweet, loving little boy. Their moments together swelled my heart with joy.
I’m completed hooked on Kristen Ashley’s writing style and the way she tells a love story, it’s become an obsession. Ride Steady was THE PERFECT fix for my addiction. And HOLY SHIT! KA kicked my Alpha fix up a notch with an EPIC, all-out badass fest. One thing I look forward to (aside from her hot sex scenes, gorgeous macho men, and HOT sex scenes) is seeing some of my old loves pop into a new story. I was elated…they were crawling all over this read and it was scrumptious. Needless to say, my man Tack was heavily involved in this story (YIPPIE)!! No spoilers as to what other dudes made cameo appearances, but I will say that a certain character, that I’ve hungered to see join forces with the Chaos crew, finally came into play. I was in total Alpha-heaven and bubbling with delight.
Ride Steady was a brilliant 5-star read for me. Page after page, I fell hopelessly in love with this story as Joker, Carissa and Travis burrowed their way deep with in my heart. I never wanted the ride to end. It could be read as a standalone, but honestly, it would be a disservice not to read the series in its entirety. With great sadness, I had to say goodbye to my Chaos loves, but not for long! The Chaos saga continues with High’s story – Walk Through Fire.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

When We Collide by A.L. Jackson

4 heart-breaking stars 

ARC received courtesy of InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review

Holy WOW. I was not prepared, at all, for William and Maggie’s love story. I've read and enjoyed melancholy romances before, but this was by far the most somber read…EVER. I had no clue jumping in that it involved a victim of abuse – and was absolutely taken aback by the severity of it. My poor, sweet Maggie. Her woes brought me to cry ugly tears.

Her circumstances caused my blood to boil. I was so consumed with RAGE and ANGER; I wanted nothing more than to strangle her abuser. This was by no means a lighthearted read, but one that twisted and turned my feelings.

This is not a romance I will soon forget. It was not an “enjoyable” read for me per se, but an extreme heart wrenching experience that caused my emotions to collide. The way in which A.L. Jackson penned this story, I really felt each of the main character’s anguish. William and Maggie’s love and life experiences were difficult to take.  Envisioning Maggie’s horrific life and the extreme cruelty towards her, broke my heart into pieces and infuriated me beyond reason. Her character was so gentle and kind, for most of the read, I was wishing for her to finally find the peace and happiness she so deserved.

William…I liked his character, but his wallowing in self-pity and the way his six-year absence negatively affected so many lives, exasperated me. Yeah, I felt bad that Maggie crushed his heart, but it ticked me off that he gave up on her so easily and took his sweet time to fight and win her back.

 And Troy, the sick bastard…
I don’t think I’ve EVER despised a character more than him. He was despicable. His reign of terror and abuse towards Maggie shredded me.

All in all, When We Collide was a good read, but also very dark, intense and emotionally draining. That being said, I would have liked more insight into William and Maggie’s relationship beginnings. The flashbacks gave me an “insta-romance” feel, and for them to share such a great and powerful love, I wanted more time spent diving deeper into their love affair.  This is not for the faint of heart, but a good recommendation for readers who enjoy tales filled with turmoil and angst.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Let it Be Me ~ By Barbara Speak

  3.5 ~ 4 Stars

ARC received from author in exchange for an honest review 

Barbara Speak gives us a heartwarming story of two people, both victims of circumstance, whose paths have joined them together. Arianna Dubray, a likeable yet overly dramatic young girl, finds herself in a new town and a new life – none of it is welcomed or of her choosing. Her character had my sympathies as she greatly suffers from the secrets she carries, an abusive stepfather, a neglectful mother and the forced changes in her world. Arianna’s saving grace is a sexy and sweet cowboy I’ve come to adore…Canyon Michaels.

He’s hot, charismatic, patient and amazingly kind. Canyon offers a friendship to Ari when she is at the lowest point in her life. Both main characters struggle with emotional pain and the only comfort they find is within each other’s arms. I enjoyed seeing their friendship grow and blossom into love.

Let it Be Me was a slow moving read at first, but the storyline picks up during the second half as secrets begin to unravel and the bonds of their relationship deepens. I found myself constantly guessing as to what troubles were buried in Ari’s past. There’s lots of drama in this read and a cast of characters I’ve come to adore, especially Shelby (Ari’s cute little sister), and some I totally despised, that added the element of angst to the story. Some laughable moments and times I found myself frustrated – mainly with Ari’s melodramatic persona. But all in all, the heavy dose of heartache and heart mending, laced throughout the story, was emotionally touching. Happy there’s no cliffhanger, and looking forward to Canyon and Ari’s continuing saga in Let it Be Us.