FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2017

I cannot believe another year has ended, and another pile of books is in our pasts. Listed below are 14 of my top favorites, ones that really stuck with me long after the last page was turned; they made me cry, pulled at my heart, or simply affected me in a way that I fell so very much in love. I read so many amazing books over the year that it was difficult to narrow them down to list that was just under 10% of what I read over the year (and you’ll see that a couple of authors stole more than one top spot), but I think you’ll see why these made the cut though. And please tell me yours in the comments! Mine are listed in no particular order.

An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne — I’m not one for holiday-themed novels, usually, but when LL does it I apparently go gaga over it. It read like a Hallmark movie (a steamy one) with a young woman going back to all of her exes, over Christmas break, after a woman with sight tells her that she had already met her one true love. The heroine had such flare with her superstitions and love for mistletoe that she was truly wonderful to connect to, and all of the angst with the one who got away was titillating and downright delicious.  LL writes great chemistry with her characters in all of her books, but there was truly something special about these two that hit me in the gut and still, quite honestly, hasn’t left me.


Read my Review of An Ex for Christmas

The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan — This book was top-notch friends-to-lovers romance. Everything about it ticked every little box to make it great in every aspect. The dynamic between Chess and Finn was orchestrated perfectly, making that escalation of friends to more wholly believable. Add the aspect of roommates and you’ve got the angst factor up by a thousand points. I spent a majority of this novel with butterflies in my stomach and a buzz all over my body watching them slowly circle around what’s lurking between them. And let me tell you, you’ll swoon hard for quarterback Finn’s sensitive side because it was the only side he had when it came to the woman he was desperately falling for.



Read my Review of The Hot Shot

The Darkest Sunrise & The Brightest Sunset (a Duet) by Aly Martinez — This fast-paced and heart-pounding duet completely blew my mind when I first read them. The twists were aplenty and they ripped me to shreds with each word. To see the devastating long-term effects of a mother whose child was kidnapped was brutal, but watching her finally find love in her life was sorrowfully sweet. I’ve never read two books so fast, and it’s all because of Martinez’s method of relaying the story to us; perfectly pacing each element and miring it all in heartbreak and irony and pain and sorrow. Probably one of the most emotionally devastating reads of the year.

Read my Review of The Darkest Sunrise
Read my Review of The Brightest Sunset

Royally Matched & Royally Endowed (Royally Series Books 2 & 3) by Emma Chase — I can’t say it’s a surprise that Chase followed the greatness of the first book, Royally Screwed, with equal greatness in the next two books of the series. Matched had a very big Prince Harry vibe to it that just absolutely did it for me. Prince Henry’s playfulness and wit, when mixed with bookish Sarah’s matching wit, was both hilarious and incredibly angsty. I loved the idea of a Royal Game Show to find him someone special, and what he would do if he found it early in someone he never expected. And to shake things up, Endowed went in a bit of a different direction and gave us the royal family’s loyal bodyguards’ love story, Logan and the younger sister of the heroine from the first book, Ellie. Their romance had the wonderful angst of a man who repeatedly denies harboring feelings for her because of her age until it hits a beautiful crescendo of two people who cannot pretend any longer. Chase does it again.

Read my Review of Royally Matched
Read my Review of Royally Endowed

Follow by Tessa Bailey — I’m constantly wondering how Tessa can write such provocative stories and not tell the same sort of story twice, but I won’t wonder too hard because I’m just happy she keeps pulling it off. Follow was her first self-pubbed novel, but it felt like pure Tessa Bailey. The characters were engaging, the plot had depth, and the raw, guttural nature of attraction and sexual connection were ever-present. Two characters coming together under fall pretenses, both whom are unwilling to trust but also unable to deny the extreme chemistry they share, led to an explosive romance that pulled heavily on steamy but also delved deep into the wells of emotion. I was a hot mess reading it, and I can still remember every moment of them showing their true selves, just in the slightest bit, to each other and how each crack in their walls led to a wonderful bareness of self.

Read my Review of Follow

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare — The only historical romance on my list, The Duchess Deal instantly became a favorite of the year even before I finished it. I can’t seem to let the story go, I can’t seem to stop telling my friends to read it even if they say they don’t like historical, and I could honestly re-read it already. Yes, it’s a historical, but the beauty of Tessa Dare is that she feels very contemporary in her writing and she blends the two genres so well that even for someone who doesn’t read a lot of historical, such as myself, can be easily sucked into it. With a marriage of convenience between the Duke of Ashbury, a scarred and broken veteran, and Emma, a skilled seamstress, one would think it was like any other with this trope, but it was so much more. Emma had so much gumption and conviction that Ashbury truly had no chance of keeping things to the pre-specified contract, and watching their hilarious back-and-forth’s along with his late night adventures, oh it was fun and steamy all the way through. Probably the best historical romance I’ve read in a long, long time.

Read my Review for The Duchess Deal

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren — I loved this book so much I based an entire 8-page literary essay on it. This is a story based on seventeen year old Tanner’s life of moving with his family to Provo, Utah, a city very much inhabited by those of Mormon faith, and his struggle with putting his bisexuality back in the closet. But his falling for the college-aged Mormon prodigy Sebastian, who tutors his novel writing class, is met with contention due to Seb’s religion and the pressures of society. What was most awe-inspiring about this novel was that Christina Lauren created such strong pillars of support with the way that Tanner’s family accepted his bisexuality. With so many teens struggling to accept their true selves, this is the kind of novel that all parents should read because it touched on how important love and support from your family and friends is to mental stability and sense of self. The romance between the two, often tumultuous, played out with just the right amount of resistance and tension, never once feeling shallow or predictable. Truly a powerfully hard-hitting novel that everyone should read.

Read my Review of Autoboyography

Disorderly Conduct by Tessa Bailey — Again, Tessa Bailey hit it out of the park with the first book in this new series. And it may have the best meet-cute I’ve ever read. Charlie was unlike any of Bailey’s heroes in that he was a more bit sensitive, for lack of a better word. He wasn’t one to hide behind bravado or worry about appearing a certain way, he just was who he was. And he was a man desperately in love, without actually knowing it, with the woman who only allowed connections with a guy for a very short amount of time. His antics to find a way back in with her are beyond hilarious and heartwarming that you can’t help but lovingly shake your head at him. And Ever was so powerfully unapologetic with her needs and views on things that her uniqueness pulled at me. Altogether it was an amazing story and went so much deeper than expected.


Read my Review of Disorderly Conduct

The Farthest Edge by Kristen Ashley — In a series that goes beyond the typical nature of erotica, The Farthest Edge bridged the gap between erotica with Domme’s & submissive alphas and the typical beauty of a KA love story. I loved the first book, but what stuck with me about this one was that it felt entirely more personal. Branch and Evangeline’s story was steeped in personal hangups and emotional setbacks that ignited their coming together. It was such a delicate love story to be told and I felt everything deep in my gut, and it was just so damn beautiful. It took me forever to find words for why this novel hit me so hard, and I still don’t think they do the book justice. This felt like vintage KA, just with a very kinky side to it that somehow made it even more like what I know and love from her writing.


Read my Review of The Farthest Edge

The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre — One of my only non-romances of the list, The Ghostwriter was an unbelievably emotional novel. With a dying author who has one last story to write, her own, Torre builds a story around Helena’s journey to finding a ghostwriter to help her pen the novel before she passes, and the harrowing tale she has to tell. The words to describe this novel are limited simply because of how much of a presence it has. The sadness, the loneliness, the irony and despair in this story are starkly vivid and I sobbed. I sobbed so hard, and felt so deeply for this woman and her story. Torre beautifully captured a pretty unlikable character with glaring flaws and many shortcomings and made her so real, so possible, that readers could become her, feel loss for her, and accept her for who she is. The mystery of her past and the effects it had on her were perfectly fit into the story and made it an absolute page-turner. I couldn’t put it down and I can still feel it, everything it brought up in me, and I don’t think that’ll leave me for a long time.

Read my Review of The Ghostwriter

Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook by Christina Henry — Lost Boy is not a re-telling but an origin story for why Hook is the way he is, and why he and Peter Pan have the rivalry they do. I have a soft spot for Hook, mainly because of the television series Once Upon a Time and Colin O’Donoghue (who wouldn’t, I mean look at him), and couldn’t open this novel fast enough to explore a unique perspective on an oft-hated character. Henry’s story is brutal and vicious but so skillfully portrayed the characters to their end points. Based around Hook and Pan being as close as brothers after the years that had passed since Pan brought him to the island, there’s a slow but steady descent into the tyrannical madness of Pan, and Hook’s eventual inner conflict of protecting the other Lost Boys or blindly following a boy he once deeply cared for. While there is little romance in the traditional sense, the love between these non-blood brothers of the Lost Boys and Hook’s friendship with Pan is in abundance. Both adventurous and unputdownable, I adored this origin story.

Read my Review of Lost Boy

The Ones Who Got Away by Roni Loren — While this is technically a 2018 release (January 2nd, to be exact), I figure it’s close enough to the end of 2017 that I can slip it in to my favorites of this year since I read it in December. It’s been a few short weeks since I finished this book, but I can’t seem to let it go. Based around a small group of survivors from a school shooting, they’re all brought back together again years later to be a part of a documentary based on their ordeal. As a second-chance romance, it hits every emotional point regarding chemistry and tension that it should, but the added layer of such a traumatic situation connecting them brings a sharper point to their connection. It’s more raw, more powerful, and equally as emotional considering their falling apart was not on the best of terms. What I loved most was that Loren made this more than a romance by easily capturing the true, long-term effects of trauma on a person’s psychological and mental states. How do two people who’ve experienced something harrowing find that connection when the people they were before have vanished? Their journey to living again, to loving again, was magnetic and I couldn’t put it down. I already know it’ll stick with me for months to come.

Read my Review of The Ones Who Got Away

 

And that’s my list. Let me know if any of these affected you in the same way, and tell me know your Top Reads below or tag me in your posts on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

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BLOG TOUR w/ REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Blood of the Prophet by Kat Ross

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Blood of the Prophet - Ebook Small

Fourth Element #2; Not a standalone

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Purchase: Kindle | Paperback | B&N | Kobo

Add to Goodreads

♦BLURB♦

Visionary. Alchemist. Savior. Saint.

The Prophet Zarathustra has been called many things. Now he spends his time drawing pictures of weird-looking goats. That’s what happens when you’ve been stuck in a prison cell for two hundred years. But the man who might be mad, and is definitely supposed to be dead, has suddenly become very valuable again…

It’s only been a few weeks since Nazafareen escaped the King’s dungeons with her daēva, Darius. She hoped never to set foot in the empire again, but the search for the Prophet has led them to the ancient city of Karnopolis. They have to find him before Alexander of Macydon burns Persepolae, and Darius’s mother with it. But they’re not the only ones looking.

The necromancer Balthazar has his own plans for the Prophet, and so does the sinister spymaster of the Numerators. As Nazafareen is drawn in to a dangerous game of cat and mouse, her newfound powers take a decidedly dark turn. Only the Prophet understands the secret of her gift, but the price of that knowledge may turn out to be more than Nazafareen is willing to pay…

 

♦5-STAR REVIEW♦

I thought book one was an epic adventure filled with excitement and twists and turns, but BLOOD OF THE PROPHET comes in with double all of that – except now instead of non-stop action there’s a heck of a lot of intrigue and plotting and working of the system. It is, absolutely, a crazy, intense ride of a story that continues Nazafareen’s story. I couldn’t have imagined this second book living up to the level that the first one did, but I was (thankfully) oh so very wrong.

Not only do we get back into Nazafareen’s head again, this time we delve into multiple sides of the story, winding and weaving as it goes, all creating a much more intricate and deeply woven tale. These added elements, along with the time constraint against our group of characters, adds to the excitement making this edge-of-your-seat book become doubly so. There are are a small amount of moments where you may have to reread just to fully understand (there’s a heck of a lot of information), but aside from that it’s easy and fast reading, if only because you have to know what happens right this second.

I really don’t have words for how utterly captivating this story has been and how much this second installment shot this series through the roof. Ms. Ross masterfully pens a fantastical series with a flawed but brave heroine and a ragtag group of heroes that sometimes skirt the line, but always end up finding the right avenue. The beautiful, growing love story between Nazafareen and her daeva, Darius, continues to grow and flourish and accents the tale so nicely. I was blown away by where this story has taken us and how well Ross has led us through it, and I am greatly looking forward to the rest of it. Like, right now – I need it!

 

♦SERIES♦

10 - The Midnight Sea

Fourth Element Book One

Purchase:  Kindle ⊥ Paperback

TOP FAVE  ♥ My Review ♥

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

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Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She lives in Westchester with her kid and a few sleepy cats. Kat is also the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day (Skyscape, 2014), about a world where the sea levels have risen sixty meters. She loves magic, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Preferably with mutants.

Website ⊥ Facebook ⊥ Twitter ⊥ Goodreads

 

♦GIVEAWAY♦

Enter for a chance to win one of ten ebooks of THE MIDNIGHT SEA

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FAVORITES OF 2016…So Far

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We’re a little bit (okay, more than a little) past the halfway point of the year, and I thought I’d share with you some of the favorites I’ve read so far. Clearly I’m going to have a big list by the end of the year if this keeps up! (Post written on 7/21)
*There will be a Facebook post later this morning offering a GIVEAWAY to anyone who comments with their faves so far so make sure to check the blog Facebook page!*

12 - Love in the LightLove in the Light is the second book in the Hearts in Darkness Duet. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read Hearts in Darkness, and when I heard that Laura was going to give Caden and Makenna another book I was jumping up and down. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint. I cried so many times while reading it, and it literally felt like there hadn’t been years between the first book being published and this book being released. It’s an incredibly emotional journey for both characters, what with Caden suffering from PTSD, and I absolutely loved it. Also, hats off to Laura for portraying PTSD so well. This was not a gratuitous story (in order to resurrect an old book) but one where more to their story needed to be told.
My Review
•Love in the Light: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Kobo | B&N
•Hearts in Darkness: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Kobo | Nook

 

12 - Make Me SinMake Me Sin is the second, interconnected standalone in J.T. Geissinger’s Bad Habit series. Let me preface this by saying that you will both love and hate me while reading this book. I sobbed and raged while I read it. I begged my best friend to read it and received so many angry texts from her (which made me gleeful, I’ll admit). Make Me Sin is incredibly angst-y, emotional, and sexy. AJ…well, AJ is everything. He’s a scarred, broody drummer for Bad Habit, and he and Chloe HATE each other. But you know what’s directly under hate? Lust. There is so much hateful lust in this story that I choked on it. It was amazing in every way. It is filled with so many elements that will rock your world. Seriously. Read it.
My Review
•Make Me Sin: Amazon
•Sweet as Sin (Bk 1): Amazon

 

SebringSebring is the finale to Kristen Ashley’s Unfinished Heroes series and features Nick Sebring, the somewhat ‘villian’ from the first four books. He’s the ‘bad’ Sebring brother. And if anyone can redeem a darker character, it’s KA. I knew that she’d take me on a ride that I wouldn’t be able to stop, and I was not wrong. She redeemed him in the absolute best way. And Olivia…KA created a robust female character that straddled that same line between good and bad that Nick did. PLUS, that epilogue, man. KA always gets me on the damn epilogues and this one had me sobbing for the loss of letting these characters go, and for the beauty and love of Nick and Olivia. This is a kinkier, darker series from KA, and I loved each one.
My Review
•Sebring: Amazon
Knight – Creed – Raid – Deacon

 

collared-williams-ebook-2Collared was a uniquely captivating story that broke my heart. This is more than a childhood love story. This is a story about pain, past, healing, strength, and heart. It’s about a girl named Jade, who was kidnapped and held captive for 10 years, and the pain and suffering she experiences trying to somehow re-acclimate to who she’s supposed to be and somehow meld that into who she is now because of what she’s suffered. It’s painful but it’s also really beautiful. Nicole pens it so masterfully that I was awed beyond belief while reading; feeling as if I were her, and wanting so desperately for her to be happy. The love story is the tasty icing and it will make your heart swell.
My Review
•Collared: Amazon US ⊥ Amazon UK ⊥ Amazon CA ⊥ B&N ⊥ iBooks ⊥ Kobo
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18 - BountyBounty is the sixth interconnected standalone in Kristen Ashley’s Colorado Mountain series. The love story between Justice and Deke was poetically beautiful. It had incredible heart and a slow, soft burn between the two leads. KA has always been genius at choosing songs to incorporate with her tales, but because Justice is a song writer/singer, it took the musical elements to another level. The love between Deke and Justice was some of the best-feeling love I’ve read. And getting to see the other couples in the series and how they wrap their arms around everyone they can, involving Justice and making her feel like she’s home was also amazing. I still don’t really have words (as I did in my official review) to explain why this book was so bountiful (←see what I did there ha).
My Review
•Bounty: Amazon
Series

 

10 - The Midnight SeaThe Midnight Sea by Kat Ross is the first in her Fourth Element series. I have been raving about this fantastical adventure story since I read it. I’m normally pretty skeptical about trying new authors sometimes, but the beautiful cover drew me in right away. Then the blurb fascinated me. Imagine my pleasant surprise when I’m only a page or two in and I’m LOVING it. It’s an epic fantasy of a young girl named Nazafareen who joined the empirical Water Dogs, warriors who battle the evil demons called Druj, after the loss of her sister. There she trains and years later when she reaches the culmination of said training she finally receives her daeva, Darius, who is a demon brought up in the light to battle the Druj. It’s young adult but don’t let that turn you away from this story. It’s romantic, the bond she forms with her daeva, and the journey she takes is filled with harrowing landscapes, and deathly battles, and through it all Nazafareen and Darius grow closer. I have been on pins and needles waiting for the next installment and you will too.
My Review
•The Midnight Sea:  Kindle ⊥ Paperback

17 - Too Hot to HandleToo Hot to Handle is the first book in the Romancing the Clarksons series. I love everything Tessa Bailey writes, that’s for sure, but this book held such an amazing cast of characters that I loved it even more. Rita and Jasper come to life so vividly, and the Clarkson family is such a ragtag group of siblings. It was a story of finding onself, where Rita and her siblings were on a journey to come to grips with their pasts and to also find ways to accept themselves. It was incredibly erotic, in the best way, and well written like always. Jasper had such a rawness to him that he will flip anybody’s switch. What was emotional, for me, was the love and hate between the siblings. They were all incredibly poignant and strong characters, and I felt like I knew them all, so now I’m desperate for their books in a very addict-like way. Each Bailey book brings something different, and the element of family and acceptance in this story was strong. I loved it so very much, and like I said, I need the other books now!
My Review
•Purchase: Amazon ⊥ iBooks ⊥ Barnes & Noble ⊥ Kobo ⊥ GooglePlay

7 - Unbreak My HeartUnbreak My Heart is the first emotional book in the Heart series by Nicole Jacquelyn. It took me daaayyyys to write my review for this book because it TORE. ME. UP. I love Nicole’s effortless writing and the way that she always pushes boundaries. It wouldn’t be a book by Nicole Jacquelyn if it didn’t. She writes the nitty-gritty and the fucked up things, but she does them well, and in a way where I can always love each character despite what they do. And! She always makes me sob. Shane and Kate’s love story is messy in every way, I mean, how can it not be when her best friend dies, and the man she’s always loved is now widowed, and she’s forced to be around him to take care of the kids. You will either love this book or hate it, but I’m betting you’ll love it if you can handle unconventional love stories. It will rip at your heart and you’ll go back and forth between hating and loving the characters, but in the end you will end up hugging your kindle while you sob tears of frustration and joy. And then you’ll buy the paperback just so you can hug that too. I greatly look forward to the next story in the series as I know it’ll be more of the same amazingness.
My Review
•Purchase: Amazon

14 - Into the LightInto the Light is the first book in Aleatha’s Light series. This was my first Aleatha book (no longer a virgin), and I didn’t realize that there was such a thing as being Aleatha’d. Well, now I know. Because, wow. The twists and turns in this pathological mystery were everywhere. And the way it ended! ARGHHH! I need more. Writing my review was incredibly difficult because I wanted to avoid even the littlest spoiler so I can’t even say much here. But it features two different storylines following Stella Montgomery, an investigative journalist, who has lost all caution when it comes to finding answers on what happened to her best friend, and Sara Adams who awakes blind and amnesia’d into a group of people (read: cult) who call themselves The Light. So much fucked-upped-ness, and yeah. Still have no words. Just read it, basically.
My Review
•Purchase: Kindle | Paperback

Moonshot_FrontCover_Final_LoResMoonshot is a standalone second-chance, coming-of-age, forbidden, angst-filled romance with some suspense sprinkled on top. Tyler, the daughter of a baseball player, and Chase, the star baseball player, had an absolutely addicting love story. Alessandra romanticized the sport of baseball too (I know! She made me love it), which was a brilliant secondary character that added such depth to the story. Yes, I just called baseball a character, and you’ll understand why when you read it. Nothing in this story is gratuitous in any way, and it was written so well that I couldn’t come up for air until I had read the last page. It’s still with me, this story and these characters, and I think it will be for a long time. The beauty of the story really falls in the First Love element, and how both Chase and Tyler were incredibly unique people who had no way to stop the magnet pulling them together. It really hurt so good, and I already want to reread it.
My Review
•Purchase: Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CAAmazon AU | B&NiBooks | Kobo | Paperback

19 - Wicked SexyWicked Sexy is the second novel in the Wicked Games series, and an interconnected standalone. Having first met Tabby and Connor in Wicked Beautiful, I knew that their love story was going to be something altogether special. And that’s because Tabby haaaates Connor. It was smartly written, intriguing, and had off-the-charts sexual tension between a strong-minded hacker heroine and the mercenary man she loved to loathe (loathed to love, too). Tabby is a free-spirited woman who has all the power over herself and has no issue with it. But Connor’s protectiveness and strength just gets under her skin. Neither realize that they are both so much alike until the mutual hatred simmers into delicious sexual tension. And oh my god people, the sexual tension in this book about burned me to a crisp. Hot hot hot, and the story was so damn intriguing. I loved every aspect of it, and I never wanted it to end. Still don’t as a matter of fact, and I really hope we get more of their banter in the next book.
My Review
•Purchase: Kindle | Amazon Paperback | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

Tell me in the comments which books are your top favorites so far! I want to hear ’em so I can add to my TBR!

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REVIEW: Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley

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Ride Steady #3

Chaos Book Three

(Personally, I recommend reading the other books first, but it’s not required)

Purchase:  Kindle ⊥ Paperback

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♦BLURB♦

The ride of her life . . .
Once upon a time, Carissa Teodoro believed in happy endings. Money, marriage, motherhood: everything came easy—until she woke up to the ugly truth about her Prince Charming. Now a struggling, single mom and stranded by a flat tire, Carissa’s pondering her mistakes when a vaguely familiar knight rides to her rescue on a ton of horsepower.

Climb on and hold tight . . .
In high school, Carson Steele was a bad boy loner who put Carissa on a pedestal where she stayed far beyond his reach. Today, he’s the hard-bodied biker known only as Joker, and from the way Carissa’s acting, it’s clear she’s falling fast. While catching her is irresistible, knowing what to do with her is a different story. A good girl like Carissa is the least likely fit with the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Too bad holding back is so damned hard. Now, as Joker’s secrets are revealed and an outside threat endangers the club, Joker must decide whether to ride steady with Carissa—or ride away forever . . .

 

♦6-STAR REVIEW♦

I’m pretty sure I’ve been very apparent on my love for any and everything Kristen Ashley writes. I read her books like the bible; when I need comfort, when I need revival, when I need to believe. Her words directly inspire me and fill me up with so much warmth that I’m overflowing with it. Ride Steady was no different. If anything, it’s absolutely her best work yet. She continually gets better which is astounding to me as she’s, in my opinion, a genius of the literary word.

One thing will be apparent when you read this book: there are an abundance of feels. The backstory that KA weaves into Joker and Carissa’s story is both emotional and incredibly well-written. This powerful backstory creates a strong foundation to build the rest of the novel on. We know Carson “Joker” Steele from the very first sentence in the book. We can feel his upbringing deep in the pit of our stomachs and we know, we know, it’ll shape him irrevocably. He becomes lost as an individual and to those who care about him. He finds a true meaning to life through the brotherhood of the Chaos Motorcycle Club where he uses his artistic talent to his benefit. His arc through this book was exceptional. From the beginning you immediately fall in love with him, and the evoked emotions he will expel from you? Be prepared for that. He was rough and soft, and gentle and naughty. But most of all, he was resilient. And that resiliency spread that sunshine onto Carissa,

Carissa Teodoro is a struggling single mother. A devoted, sacrificing mother who gives every tiny, minuscule bit of herself to providing for her son. Along with dealing with her bastard of an ex-husband, she’s run ragged. A chance meeting with Joker during her time of need sets things into motion for some bit of peace–where she’ll find a soft, safe place to land. Carissa’s sassy ways and how she was so different from most will set her apart. The way she believed and trusted and ultimately never once became weak of her beliefs or feelings was refreshing and uplifting.

One thing KA is masterful at is making words beautiful. Words so beautiful that you’ll get that deep pang in your chest, that flutter in your belly, that burn in your nostrils. I teared up within the first 10% of this novel. I rode a roller coaster of emotion ranging from anger, sadness, lust, love, laughter…the whole gamut. I can always, always count on KA to make me feel. Her words aren’t just words; they’re keys to a story. They fly off of the page and create a world. I forget I’m reading and become enthralled by the story. I can sense the characters she creates and it makes them so very real. Ride Steady was exceptional. I didn’t want it to end, ever. I read slowly (by choice) so it would last. I even reread most of each page as I went because it was just that good. I highlighted what I would think to be a majority of the book. It was gorgeous.

I’m not just saying his because I’m a KA fan. I’m saying this because her work earns that type of review. She shows, and doesn’t tell. She has a way with words, and Joker and Carissa’s book is edging out the rest of her books for being my favorite. You will laugh, you will cry, you will fall in love; this will be a hell of a ride.

On a relevant side note: the feels in this book were made even better by the fact that we visited so many prior characters. It warmed my heart to see them again, like visiting old (extremely hot) friends, and to see them band together in spite of (and because of) their many different types of badassery, whether fully legal or not, for each other.

 

♦SERIES♦

Own The Wind #1

Chaos Book One

Purchase:  Kindle ⊥ Paperback

Fire Inside #2

Chaos Book Two

Purchase:  Kindle ⊥ Paperback

♦UPCOMING♦

Walk Through Fire

Releasing:  October 27, 2015

Preorder:  Kindle ⊥ Paperback

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

KristenAshley

I was born a middle class white child in Gary, Indiana, USA. One of the last of a dying breed. I nearly killed my mother and myself making it into the world, seeing as I had the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck (already attempting to accessorize and I hadn’t taken my first breath!). Mom says they took me away, put her back in her room, she looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). She remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.

Nothing’s changed.

All I’ve ever wanted to do was write (well, and be the Queen of the World, but you gotta start small) and I’ve published a gazillion books and counting (and a gazillion is a lot! shoo!).You can learn about my titles that have been released or that are soon to be released in the Titles section of the website.

Even though I jump genres, there is always a theme to my books…humor (hopefully), engaging characters (again, hopefully) and romance (definitely).

My loves are movies, music, food and fashion and I partake of all of them as often as I can (the middle two more than the others, the former, which takes time I don’t often have and the latter, which takes money I rarely have). In fact, I love food so much, I like to share my good fortune so I put my recipes on offer for you on this page (see top menu and don’t miss them, they’re awesome!).

I grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and have lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus I’m blessed to have friends and family around the globe. My family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write and growing up it was large and multi-generational. We all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. I grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched). Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as I keep growing up, it keeps getting better.

So here I am, thank goodness.

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