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GUEST REVIEW: Top Ten Reasons to read Motorcycle Man by...

The following is a guest post from Angela James. Angela James is both the executive editor of Carina Press (but all views expressed when discussing books are purely her own) and an avid reader of all things romance since she snuck her first Harlequin category romance from her mom’s brown grocery bag full of them in fourth grade nearly 30 years ago. She’s also addicted to Twitter, tweeting compulsively about books, shoes, football, her daughter and her bad travel karma. You can find her at @angelajames.


This was my first Kristen Ashley. I happened upon this book via Twitter, which is something that happens to me on an increasingly frequent basis. I follow a lot of romance readers and I buy what probably amounts to a ridiculous number of books just based on their conversations about the books they’re currently reading and loving.

Motorcycle Man Kristen AshleyThis time, JenniferRNN and KatiD happened to be discussing Motorcycle Man, which Jennifer had just started reading. Kati was warning Jennifer that Ashley’s books were like Pringles and you couldn’t read just one.  I immediately asked if this was an author I should be reading. Yes, I’d missed the reviews of this author’s books on Dear Author and my normal book pimp, Jane, had fallen down on her job and not emailed me about the crack that is Kristen Ashley books, so this was the first time I was hearing her name. Readers say something is addictive, I want to read it. Partly because of my job, but mostly because, above all, beyond my job, I’m first and foremost a reader who loves to read and is always looking for her next fix. So I ended up buying Motorcycle Man.

That was Friday night. By Sunday morning I’d read 4 more books by Kristen Ashley, which is saying something because these are not short books. They’re not even kind of long. They’re really long books–Motorcycle Man clocks in at 130,000 words, which doesn’t appear to be unusual of her books. But her writing, while unpolished–convoluted sentences, typos galore, some meandering narrative, hard-to-follow dialogue and, as Jane puts it “word jamboree”–has a quality that has you sucked in and flipping pages as quickly as possible. As is often the cases in why something in author’s writing grabs a group of readers, it’s somewhat undefinable quality, but I was asked by @mad4rombks to create a top ten list for why someone should read this book, since she was on the fence, so I’ve taken a stab at it.

Before I do, I need to say that these books are not perfect, because I don’t want anyone to feel misled. I think they’re a love them or hate them type of thing. And the writing is not perfect. And they make me long for a red pen–in a good way–to help polish them just a little. But despite all that, the stories and the characters make an impact, and they keep you engaged. At the end of the day, warts and all, that’s the type of book I’m looking for and the type of book I think others are looking for. So…

10 reasons you should read Motorcycle Man by Kristen Ashley

10. Tack is an anti-hero

This man called Tack loved life and knew how to live it to its fullest. And I knew, as crazy as it sounded, that I was going to live my life to its fullest by his side.

I was on my belly in bed, my arms crossed on the pillow, my cheek resting on them, my head turned away from him. I turned my head his way and looked up at him.

Dark, longish, somewhat unruly, definitely sexy hair with a hint of gray interspersed in it. Blue eyes with pale lines radiating from the sides that I knew, I just knew, came from laughing. A dark goatee around his mouth, the bit at his chin overlong in a biker way that was too cool for words. Fantastic tattoos slithering up his defined arms, broad shoulders and muscled neck along with one on his ripped chest and a big one on his back. The rest of his body hard and strong, I knew because with great relish I’d acquainted myself with every centimeter.

Beautiful. Perfect. Not my type and I never would have thought a man like him, a biker guy, a motorcycle man, rough and ready for anything, would be my type. But now that I found the man of my dreams, I knew he was perfect.

“I’m awake,” I whispered and a whisper was all I could manage. My throat was clogged with joy and excitement. I’d been waiting for him forever and here he was.

I knew when I’d jumped off the roller coaster that had been my life, I was doing the right thing and here he was. Living, breathing, gorgeous, tattooed, gravelly-voiced, great with his hands, mouth and other parts of his anatomy proof that I was absolutely right.

His hand left my skin to smack my ass lightly before he said, “Time to get to your own bed, darlin’.”

I blinked but the rest of my body froze.

He moved.

He exited the bed, grabbed his jeans and yanked them on. Then he sauntered to a door off the room, not even so much as glancing back as he said, “Leave your number and close the door on your way out, would you, Red?”

No really, he’s not a good guy, except towards people who are his. He treats women as disposable, he’s been in a motorcycle “club” his whole life and broken a good number of laws, including running drugs. He believes in retribution, even for things most of us would shrug off, he calls women “bitches”, and he’s got issues. But all of this adds up to a guy you want to see redeemed, because when they fall, you know those anti-heroes fall HARD.

9. And he’s possessive and protective of his woman.

“Queasy?” he guessed accurately which made me wonder what I looked like because I knew I had wild hair. I also knew I had leftover makeup which was never attractive but I was deducing I also was green at the gills which was even less attractive.

“Yes,” I answered.

“Day off,” Tack stated.

“Pardon?” I asked.

“You feel shit, day off.”

“But… I’m hungover.”

“Yeah. So you’re gonna take the day off.”

“Tack,” I started to inform him, “you’re my boss. You should frown on an employee taking the day off because she tied one on the night before.”

“Tyra, I’m your boss, I’m your man and I’m a biker. As your boss, you feel shit, you’re not gonna be on your game so you might fuck shit up which means it’s better you’re not in and work doesn’t get done instead of you bein’ in and work gettin’ fucked up.”

I had to admit, this made sense.

He continued, “As your man, you feel shit, I want you to rest and get better.”

8. No, I mean really possessive and protective.

“Jesus, fuck me, Tyra. What the fuck were you fucking thinking?”

“Let me go,” I whispered.

“Shy told me, way he went at you, he coulda caved your fuckin’ head in.”

“Let me go,” I repeated on a whisper.

“What were you thinking?” Tack kind of repeated.

I yanked at his hand at my throat which, from the minute he placed it there to now was holding me but it was just like how I hit the wall. Not gentle. Not hard.

What it was, was immovable.

“Let me go,” I said yet again.

The dragon breathed fire and roared in my face, “What were you fuckin’ thinking?”

“Quiet!” I hissed. “Tabby. Rush.”

“Don’t worry about Tab and Rush, babe. Advice, right now, you worry about you. What the fuck were you thinking?”

“Let me go!” I snapped, still yanking at his hand.

“Tell me what the fuck you were thinking!” he thundered.

“Fuck you!” I screeched. “And let me the fuck go!”

I yanked hard at his wrist. It went down and I let it go. I quickly slid away only for his arm to hook around my waist and haul me right back where he stepped in and pressed one hand into my belly and curled the fingers of the other one around the side of my neck.

And I was immobilized. Again.

“Tonight, you coulda died,” he ground out.

“I didn’t.”

“Or you coulda been made not you, he did damage but didn’t take your fuckin’ life.”

“That didn’t happen either,” I snapped.

“It could have.”

“It didn’t.”

He got nose-to-nose with me again and clipped, “It could have.”

7. It’s Sons of Anarchy meets romance novels.

There are motorcycles. And bikers. And bitches. And the club and parties and…really bad shit they’re involved in. If you think of Tack as Jax (who wants to clean up the Club) and Tyra as the straight-laced Tara who can’t quit him, you’ve got that kind of romance in book form. The only thing missing is Gemma.

…he growled into my ear, “Listen to me.”

When I made no response, his thumb slid from my lips and his hand spanned the side of my head, he kept his mouth at my other ear and he held me captive as he spoke.

“Shit is not good in the Club. Shit is not good outside the Club. Shit is not good with Naomi. I got a lot goin’ down, it needs my attention. I need to stay sharp. I do not need to be thinkin’ about your sweet mouth wrapped around my cock or my dick buried in your tight, wet pussy, which is all I wanna think about. When I say I gotta stay sharp, baby, I mean, I don’t, I get dead and when I say that, I mean the not breathin’ anymore variety. You don’t fit into all the shit that’s swirlin’ in my life right now unless I can make you fit. That’s all I got to give you and that’s all you’re gonna get. And you’re gonna take what I have to give, Red. You’re not gonna resign. You’re not gonna disappear. You’re gonna be where I want you to be, you’re gonna do what I want you to do and you’re gonna listen to what I have to say and if you don’t do it, I’ll find a way to make you do it. That scares you, you gotta learn to get over it and you’ll learn not to be scared because I’d rather cut off my own arm than ever hurt you. But you fucked up, baby. You showed me somethin’ I want and I get what I want and I do what I gotta do to get it. So this needs to sink in right fuckin’ now, Tyra. You… are… stuck. Find some way to deal with it and my advice would be, don’t fight it. You fight it, I’ll take you on. That’s a guarantee. Do you understand me?”

“You’re scaring me right now, Tack,” I admitted breathily because I was lying on my back but everything he said made my breath ragged and there was nothing I could do to stop it mainly because I wasn’t lying. He was scaring me right now.

He lifted his head, his other hand came up so both were framing my face and he looked into my eyes when he whispered, “What scares you?”
What scared me? My God, he was insane.

“All of it,” I told him.

“Break it down,” he demanded.

“Shit isn’t good in the Club?”

“No, shit is not good in the Club.”

6. There are positive female relationships.

My cell chirped on my desk, I picked it up, saw a text from Lanie, flipped it open and read it even though I knew what it was going to say.

Did you give notice yet?

This was the same text she sent six times a day, every day, since Tuesday when I realized that I’d been an idiot with Tack (again) and I’d shared this knowledge with her. She went from thinking he was a jerk to actively hating him. This was not surprising. This was what best friends did. Before Elliott, I’d done the same thing with numerous boyfriends of Lanie’s.

No, I texted back.

Five seconds later, I received, I’ll pay for your yoga classes until you get a new job.

Yesterday, she started an incentive strategy. We were up to once a month facials at her favorite salon, weekly invitations to Takeaway Thursday at her and Elliott’s place and now yoga classes.

I’ve applied three places. Give it time. I sent back.

Is he there today? She returned.

He was. He was currently in the garage working on that kickass red car I noticed no one touched but him. He was also currently avoiding me or forgetting I existed. It was nearly two in the afternoon. I’d heard him roar in at nine forty-five (I’d heard it and like the idiot I was, whenever I heard any bike roar in for the past four and half days, I’d looked), he’d sauntered into the garage and I hadn’t seen him since.

Yes, he’s here. I told Lanie.

I’m emailing you your letter of resignation now. You just have to print it, sign it and give it to him. Easy. Lanie replied.

She’d written my letter of resignation. Totally Lanie. I smiled at the phone. Then the door to the garage opened, I looked up and Tack stood there.

This is a trait I’ve noticed in all of the Ashley books I’ve read so far. The heroine already has and/or develops in the course of the book, positive female relationships, and they’re not just a scene in the book, but a pervasive part of the heroine’s life. In Motorcycle Man, her relationship with Lanie is pivotal to both the plot and her relationship with Tack. It’s awesome to see female friendships portrayed positively, rather than just as a vehicle for the author to talk about the heroine’s relationship with the hero (though this is done as well, but the relationships are more than that)

5. The heroine does have a backbone.

Though she inevitably folds in the face of Tack’s demands and possessiveness and “play it my way” attitude, there are still times when she stands up to him and shows she’s at least made of some spunk. She might not make him grovel enough (none of the Ashley heroines do) but she’ll still go toe-to-toe with him. And with his psycho ex.

Oh my God. Did he just say that?

I felt the blood stop rushing through my veins as my entire body solidified.

“Did you just say that?” I asked when I got my lips moving again.

“Red, give me your number, get your ass in your car and I’ll call you when it’s time for us to play again.”

He did. He did just say that because he’d also just mostly repeated it.

I clenched my teeth again but this time for a different reason.

Then I asked, “Do you know my name?”

“What?” he asked back.

“My name,” I stated. “I told you my name Saturday night and I know I did so don’t tell me I didn’t.” And I did. I absolutely, totally told him my name. In fact, I’d done it at least three times when he kept calling me “Red”.

“You’re shittin’ me,” he said again.

“Stop saying I’m shitting you. I’m not. What’s my name?” I demanded to know.

“Babe, who cares? We don’t need names,” was his unbelievable answer.

“Ohmigod,” I whispered. “You’re a jerk.”

“Red –”

“Totally a jerk.” I kept whispering and he crossed his arms on his chest.

“Two choices, Red, give me your number, get your ass in your car, get outta here and wait for my call or just get your ass in your car and get outta here. You got five seconds.”

“I’m not getting in my car,” I told him. “I’m waiting for Eloise to come and show me the ropes then I’m going to work.”

“You are not gonna work here,” he returned.

“I am,” I shot back.

“No, you aren’t.”

“I am.”

“Babe, not gonna say it again, you aren’t.”

That was when I lost it and I didn’t know why. I wasn’t the type to lose it. You didn’t lose it when you planned every second of your life. Caution and losing it did not go together.

But I lost it.

I planted my hands on my hips, took a step toward him and lifted up on my toes to get in his face.

“Now, you listen to me, scary biker dude,” I snapped. “I need this job. I haven’t worked in two months and I need this job. I can’t wait two more months or longer to find another job. I need to work now.” His blue eyes burned into mine in a way that felt physical but I kept right on talking. “So you’re good-looking, have great tats and a cool goatee. So you caught my eye and I caught yours. We had sex. Lots of sex. It was good. So what? That was then, this is now. We’re not going to play, not again. We’re done playing. I’m going to come in at eight, leave at five, do my job and you’re going to be my scary biker dude boss, sign my paychecks, do my performance evaluations and maybe, if you’re nice, I’ll make you coffee. Other than that, you don’t exist for me and I don’t exist for you. What we had, we had. It’s over. I’m moving on and how I’m moving on is, I’m… working… this… job.”

I stopped talking and realized I was breathing heavy. I also realized his eyes were still burning into mine. I knew he was still angry but there was something else there, something I didn’t get because I didn’t know him and I couldn’t read him. But whatever it was, it was scarier than just him being angry which, frankly, was scary enough.

4. Not an erotic romance, but there’s no closed bedroom doors here.

My head snapped back and I gasped, “Oh my God.”

Then I came. Hard.

The instant I did, Tack whipped me to my back and kept pounding deep. So I wrapped all four limbs around him tight and kept coming. Harder.

“Fuck,” Tack muttered against my mouth between grunts, “my girl’s got a greedy fuckin’ pussy.”

He was right. I did. Because I was still coming.

When I stopped coming, Tack was still driving deep and it felt so freaking good, it started to build again.

I held him tight, lifting my hips to take him deeper and slid one hand up his back, his neck and into his thick, longish hair as I whispered against his lips, his goatee tickling my skin, “Honey, you have to come or I’m gonna come again.”

“This is a problem?” he grunted back.

I saw his point.

So I smiled against his mouth.

He slanted his head and kissed me.

About thirty seconds later, I came again.

About a minute after that, Tack did.

About thirty seconds after that, Tack’s hand slid lightly down the skin of my side, causing tingles that hit mid-range on the pleasant scale but high on the soothing scale and his lips at my neck whispered, “Like that.”

I liked it too. All of it. Going down on him and Tack returning the favor. Then, because he was so good at it, getting greedy, pushing him to his back and him letting me. Then climbing on and riding him until I came. And last, finishing when he flipped me and rode me until I came again and he did too.

Yeah, I liked it. All of it.

3. It’s just so…freakin’ delicious

“What’d I forget?”
One of his arms left my middle and cupped the side of my head.

“This,” he muttered then his mouth was on mine.

It wasn’t a morning mouth touch. It was a kiss, a serious kiss. So serious, his body moved back, turned mine to face him then it moved in again, pressing me into the counter. His hand cupping the side of my head slid into my hair to cup the back and hold me to him as his other arm locked tight around my waist, plastering me to his body.

It was such a serious kiss, and such a great kiss, I totally forgot Lanie was there, my confusion, weird response to Tack spending time with Lanie and the sleep that lingered and my arms moved to wrap around his shoulders. I went up on my toes and I went at it right along with Tack. Maybe more. I was off guard plus I loved how he tasted and I was hungry for it. So without the barest thought about anything but Tack, his tongue and his mouth, I drank deep.

Tack broke the kiss but he didn’t take his mouth away when he whispered against my lips, “Jesus fuck, Red, you can use that sweet mouth,” and his arm around me squeezed tight on the word “fuck”.

I gazed up at him in a haze thinking he could use his mouth too, thinking a lot more than my skin was tingling and also thinking I wasn’t quite done with his mouth when I heard Lanie clear her throat.

2. He is so, so into her. So into her.

“Right back at you, Red, seein’ as it’s not sinking in that I’m not gonna let you go. We’re talkin’ this shit out.”

“There’s nothing to talk out!” I cried. “We’re done.”

Suddenly his face dipped close, the room filled with his badass biker vibe and he was all I could see.

“Truthfully,” he shot my word back at me, “you were funny, you were sweet, you’re gorgeous, you have great fuckin’ hair and a great fuckin’ body and I had fun with you, darlin’, in bed and out. But you didn’t show me all that’s you so all I knew was the parts of it I wanted and I know that shit stung and this is gonna sting too, there were only parts. And I’ll warn you, babe, this is gonna sting as well but you were too easy. A man like me can get easy, easily. So that’s not what a man like me wants.” He paused, I kept glaring though I suspected my glare was more heated then he went on, “Until you squared off against me. That first night, I didn’t have it all. And I still don’t have it all but every piece you give me, baby, I like. So now I want it all and I’m gonna fuckin’ get it, Tyra. You aren’t gonna hold back, you aren’t gonna retreat, you aren’t gonna push me away and I sure as fuck am not gonna let go.”

“You’re unbelievable,” I hissed.

“You said that before, babe, what you need to get is you like exactly that about me. You’re just too fuckin’ scared to admit it.”

“Oh,” I started sarcastically, “so now you’re in my head and you know what I’m thinking?”

“Yeah, I do. You may not have lived your life suckin’ it dry but I have. I’ve jumped into bed with more than my fair share of women and I’ve spent time outta bed with more than my fair share of women and I know that a woman does not go wild for me in bed and that woman is not wild in life. You want wild, babe, because you are wild. You’re just too fuckin’ scared of it to embrace it.”

Wrong. You just happen to be an excellent lover, Tack. The problem is, outside of bed, you’re mostly a jerk.”

“You like that too, all of it,” he shot back.

“God!” I yelled. “Seriously?”

He was losing patience. I knew this when he growled, “Seriously.”
“News flash, Kane Allen, women do not go ga-ga over men who brag about their exploits and replace them within a day.”

“Tyra, do not shit me or yourself. There was nothing to replace, not back then. You came to a party, got drunk and got laid. Same as me. The minute you gave me more of you, I took it, wanted even more and I didn’t keep that a secret, babe, and you fuckin’ know it. And you kept givin’ it. You coulda walked away and you didn’t. And along the way as we’ve been playin’ our game, you got your hooks in me and I got mine in you and you know that too.”

1. There are a whole lot more where this came from.

A whole lot more. No worrying about finding an author you love with only one book out to read. This author has a backlist. A prolific backlist. And at $4, the books are fairly priced and easy to take a chance on, without completely devaluing the author’s hard work.

P.S. In case you can’t tell, a warning: if you don’t like bad language or are bothered or distracted by it, these books are not for you.


Guest Reviewer


  1. JenniferRNN
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 12:08:08

    I second these Top Ten Reasons!

  2. Tori
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 12:12:42

    Exactly why I read and re read all her books on a regular basis. Wonderful top ten.

  3. Kati
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 12:15:07

    I’m beyond delighted that you enjoyed them. They are COMPLETELY addictive.

    I swear to God, if my husband EVER spoke to me the way Tack talks to Tyra, I’d kick him in the junk. But man I love reading it.

    Ashley does a phenomenal job of portraying how much the hero feels for the heroine, even if he rarely articulates it. The writing ticks are maddening, but her books honestly are just the DEFINITION of book-crack. You read one, and you’re immediately all, “Thank you ma’am, may I please have another?”

    This is a terrific list, Angie!

  4. Mandi
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 12:16:46

    annnnnd I’m going to try MM tonight :)

  5. Kati
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 12:18:31

    @Mandi: You should just go ahead and buy the entire Dream Man series, Mandi.

    If you’re not plowing through them 1-2-3-4, I’ll be SHOCKED!

  6. Tabitha
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 12:19:48

    If I hadn’t already read this book, your reasons and the accompanying excerpts would’ve gotten to me. I read Motorcycle Man when it first came out, the first book I’ve ever read by Kristen Ashley, and went on to glom almost her entire backlist (minus the genie book). There’s only a few of her books I found slow and boring and considering her backlist and how many I read, that’s saying a lot.

  7. Amy
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 12:20:17

    Awesome Top Ten!!! Kristen Ashley is the Queen of Crack!

  8. Eva / TXBookjunkie
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 12:27:55

    Yes. I love how addictive her books are. Ever since I read my first Kristen Ashley book, I’ve been doing constant re-reads of her Dream Man and Colorado Mountain series.

    Don’t read her Rock Chick series back to back in a week like I did – they all started to blur together. Space them out.

    I also like how her many of her heroines are in the mid-late 30s and how important family (blood and non-blood) is.

  9. KT Grant
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 12:30:05

    Sold me on the, “my girl’s got a greedy fuckin’ pussy.”


  10. Angela James
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 12:32:23

    @Eva / TXBookjunkie:

    I’ve read 3 Rock Chick books back-to-back in 3 days, lol. While I’ve been reading I’ve also been compiling a list of all the ways you know you’re reading a Kristen Ashley book (what can I say, I like lists) and one of my notes is that she has very pervasive family elements in them. And healthy family elements. I like that.

  11. Ellen
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 12:32:52

    And you lost me at reason No. 10. I read the rest just to reassure myself this is what I don’t need to buy. At one time I thought I would stay away because Mathewson is my cracktastic writer and I don’t need another one and I was sure Ashley would suck me in. Now I am staying away because there is nothing for me except for strong female relationship.
    So I appreciate your taking the time to enumerate the 10 reasons.
    I also have a 20-“fuck”-a-page cap. If your P.S. had been a forward (forewarned), I would have stopped reading there so I am glad you had it at the end so I am positive my CC is safe. I am bookmarking this to keep from folding later.

  12. Natasha R
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 12:33:20

    I have been on the fence about this author for a while now. I saw her books being recommended by readers I follow on goodreads. But I wasn’t sure if it was for me. The top ten reasons helped! I’m going to finally make the leap :)

  13. Angela James
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 12:33:46

    @KT Grant:

    That’s not the only time that’s said in this book :P

  14. Angela James
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 12:35:48


    I honestly don’t believe these books are for everyone, and I tried to include the reasons why, including the cursing, so people were fully informed. I actually think the things that work for me would be reasons it wouldn’t work for someone else!

  15. Sophia (FV)
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 12:53:27

    Agree, agree, agree.

    “He is so, so into her. So into her.”

    I like this about all of KA’s heroes.

  16. Dabney
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 13:16:28

    I had been trying to ignore the pull of these–I have enough crack in my life as it is–but now, sadly, I have folded. The book’s on my Kindle. Here’s hoping I can read just one….

  17. Anne V
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 13:40:11

    All of those reasons, yes, and then also: the proofreading/spell checking/grammar has improved DRAMATICALLY in the last 3 or 4 titles. And when her last title published over the weekend with some wonky formatting, she acknowledged it and fixed it very quickly and neither she nor her legion of fans went bezerk on the people who pointed it out.

    These books come out FAST – every 6-8 weeks, it looks like.

  18. Stefanie
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 13:47:39

    I, like Dabney, have been trying so hard to avoid Kristen Ashley because I just don’t have the time (or the money!) to feed the inevitable addiction. But Angela, Mandi at Smexybooks, the ladies at Fiction Vixen, and all you other pushers out there are making it awfully hard to just say no. So, if a KA virgin like me were to “take the first hit,” which book would you recommend as a starting point?

  19. Angela James
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 13:52:10


    Motorcycle Man was my first book. Normally I’m a compulsive “in order” reader but I was fine reading this out of order. But other than this one, I’d recommend either Mystery Man or Rock Chick both are the first books in their respective series, but you’re going to find there’s character crossover between these series

  20. Darlynne
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 13:54:01

    I’d be all aboard the cracktastic train, now that the BDB isn’t so much fun, and it isn’t the language or the violence or the possessiveness that would keep me away, it’s this:

    What is her name? What is the narrator’s name? I’ve read the review (it’s great, btw) again, but where is her name? It’s entirely possible I’ve missed it in with all the “babes” and “Reds” and what-have-you, but I don’t know this one piece of information and apparently Tack doesn’t either (at least as far as these samples go) or doesn’t choose to use it. That little bit of respect for her would have put me on board the train.

  21. Kati
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 13:55:12

    @Stefanie: I’d do as Angie did and start with Motorcycle Man. Unless you’re pathological about starting a series at the beginning, then start with Mystery Man. You could also start with the Colorado Mountain Series, which a lot of other readers like.

  22. erinf1
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 13:55:57

    Thanks for the great post… I’m still on the fence though… while I like the idea of the anti hero and the alpha male… they can written so over the top as to be indistinguishable from the abusive/controlling stereotypes that we previously abhorred. So I guess I might be behind, but I can’t read about a man physically manhandling a woman all b/c he “luvs” her or cares about her and be ok w/ that. I mean that snippet from #8 where he has her by the *throat* screaming in her face and she is trying to get away… and it’s all about someone else physically assaulting her?!?! How does that make sense? Aren’t we going backward here?

  23. Angela James
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 14:00:23


    Oops, trying again. It’s Tyra. I did say it, it’s in the “Sons of Anarchy” point. This is a first person, so in her narrative, we don’t get her name, and the hero calls her by a nickname “Red” so you won’t get it much in his either.

    (and this is a slight spoiler so anyone who doesn’t want to know…

    ….he does her know her name. The whole time. You find that out later, he always knew.)

  24. Stefanie
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 14:00:53

    Thanks, Kati! I think I’ll try the Colorado Mountain Series. Something about hot alpha males and mountains–yum!

  25. Angela James
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 14:03:09


    I wondered if anyone was going to ask about that. There’s a few things. Right after this excerpt, she gets right back in his face and gets on him for getting physical with her, even that amount. To me, it’s a little like that “you’re so scared you shake the hell out of your kid, and then hug them and then shake the hell out of them again” moment you can have, so I didn’t see it as him getting abusive with her, but she does go toe to toe with him about how he acts. Then hand on the throat thing actually gets an entire explanation from him that I wasn’t expecting, but worked for me. It might not work for everyone, I don’t know.

  26. Angela James
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 14:04:12


    I almost also suggested that series, but I’ve only read one book of them, the first, and I know they didn’t work as well for Jane so I don’t want to rec them until I’ve tried at least one other.

  27. erinf1
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 14:09:25

    @Angela… thanks for the explanation… I’m not trying to be a holier-than-thou here… really… but that excerpt put a screeching halt to any interest I had in the book. Context is everything, I know… so I’m glad that you cleared that up for me. And I know that this is suppose to be a grittier, darker type of romance… I used to watch SOA so when you referenced that it did put it into context a lot better for me… but I still watched that show between my fingers!

  28. Tabitha
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 14:11:45

    @erinf1: I had a similar reaction to his hand at her throat and was ready to quit reading if Tyra hadn’t spoke up. But like Angela explained, Tyra got back in Tack’s face about him getting physical with her and how she doesn’t like it (I was so glad that she spoke up to him about his behavior) and Tack explained why and his explanation worked for me.

  29. LauraB
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 14:20:13


    But the genie book is total crack and a pure mediation upon category romances (esp. the secret baby plot line). It’s actually really well done and written in an entirely different/tone/voice than Ashley’s Colorado books. Like all her books, tongue is firmly set in check.

    Has anyone read her gothics? What’s the verdict?

  30. Anne V
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 14:21:44

    @Stefanie: One of the nice things about this series is that you don’t have to read it in order. You can, but the continuity isn’t wrecked. I read them 3-1-2-4, and it worked fine. 4 has the most dependency on a previous title (3).

    I would also suggest, if you like the Colorado Mountain series, that you try the Burg series.

  31. Tabitha
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 14:26:08

    @LauraB: I hadn’t checked out the genie book because I thought it might be too light or chick lit-tish, if that makes senses. I’ve run out of her books to read (and I’ve re-read many others too many times recently) so I might just give the genie book a try then. Thanks!

    Which ones are her gothics? Are you referring to the ones with the PNR/ghostly elements?

  32. Estara Swanberg
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 14:28:17

    So that’s why this vanished from your GoodReads review after I liked it. I was thinking it might have been another reviewer after all, heh.

  33. Anne V
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 14:36:51

    @Tabitha: It’s not chick-lit-ish. It’s least like her Ghosts and Reincarnation series and more like CM or the Burg, except with a genie.

  34. Ridley
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 14:39:53

    I love that (almost) every reason you list here is a bright, flashing NOPE for me, yet you’ve edited, acquired or recommended on Twitter lots of books that I totally love.

    The subjectivity of taste will never cease to amaze me.

  35. Stefanie
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 14:55:34

    @Angela James: @Anne V: Thanks, ladies! Off to load up my Kindle now.

  36. JenM
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 15:48:11

    Another on the fence reader that has just been converted to a buy. I’d been scared off by the potential writing and grammar issues, but those excerpts were completely/compulsively readable. I’m going to do as you suggested and start with Motorcycle Man. Plus, older lead characters is a huge plus with me and very hard to find. Thank you for this post.

  37. Anne V
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 15:58:37

    Most of her characters are >25, and many are in their late 30s early 40s.

  38. LauraB
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 16:00:36

    @Tabitha: Yes, I was referring to the “Ghosts and Reincarnations” series. For some reason the descriptions aren’t grabbing me. So are they as “cracktastic” as Ashley’s other books?

    To correct on my comments above: Three Wishes has a lighthearted tone overall, and she really has fun playing with the conventions of Harlequin/Mills&Boon’s books, but I wouldn’t call it Chick-Lit. The heroine is actually a lot less obsessed w/ the material (a characteristic that runs through most Chick-Lit that I’ve read) than those we find in the Rock Chick, Dream Man or Colorado Mountain books. I’d argue that the Rock Chick books are the MOST like Chick Lit. Three Wishes is entirely told in 3rd person, and the narrative voice has a fairy tale quality, which is exactly what she’s going for in my opinion. What really came across w/ Three Wishes is just how much pleasure the author finds in conventions of category romances. In many ways, this book comes across as a labor of love (and it’s not w/o its flaws, btw).

    I’ve got to agree w/ Angela James here about the editing, but the stories are so much fun that I find it easy to forgive these flaws (even though some of my biggest grammatical pet peeves crop up frequently in Mystery Man where the heroine is supposedly a book editor). :)

    Regardless, I have a lot of respect for Ashley’s ability to tell a “ripping yarn” and for how prolific she manages to be (and yet still so entertaining). Of all the series and books I’ve read, the Rock Chick books are my least favorite. Also, I’ve rarely read someone who does reconciliation scenes so well. For me, these are the real payoff in her books.

  39. Ellen
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 16:25:21

    @Angela James:

    And that is why I appreciate the quotes and the analysis. You saved me from throwing my Kindle against the wall.

  40. Dana S
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 16:39:21

    I’m a huge fan of anti-heroes in romance or any other genre of lit, so I tried one of her books a few months ago but there were just too many typos and grammatical/formatting errors. When I pay for a product I want a finished product, not just a rough draft. It was just too frustrating to read.

  41. Tabitha
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 17:15:42

    @LauraB: Sorry, I recant what I said earlier. I forgot that I haven’t read Penmort Castle, one of the Ghost & Reincarnation’s books, and Mathilda, Superwitch book as well. The G&R series are not as “cracktastic” as her other books. With the exception of Fairytale Come Alive, the other books in the Ghost series were slow for me to get through.

  42. Sunita
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 18:01:06

    This is a fantastic review. With this and the previous Ashley reviews at DA, I’m getting a sense of why they are so appealing to so many readers.

    I bailed at “he exited the bed.”

  43. Beth
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 18:05:31

    Loved reading the review. Hope you’ll do another on the next book.

    I think Lady Luck, Wild Man, and At Peace are my top 3 Ashley books. If you haven’t read Lady Luck , run don’t walk. My first thought when I started reading Ashley was that Nora Roberts and Quentin Tarantino had had a secret baby and her name was Kristen.

    I want Elvira to have a book!

  44. pamelia
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 18:31:48

    My main “problem” with Kristen Ashley books is my desire to re-read them a gazillion times while other newer purchases languish in the TBR queue on my Kindle!
    My other less pressing problem is that I’m running out of her backlist titles. Less pressing because I can always re-read my favorites and she keeps putting out new books every 3 months or so in fact I just finished reading “Creed” this morning and loved it (no surprise there!)

  45. Beth
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 18:37:50


    Ditto on the re-reading…. I knew I had it bad when Kenyon’s new Dark Hunter hit my kindle and I DIDN’T EVEN NOTICE for several days….too busy reading The ‘burg series.

  46. Candie
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 19:53:26

    YOU MUST read all the dream man series from Kristen Ashley, you will love them all… but your heart will belong to Tack

  47. jane_l
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 20:08:36

    @Angela James – it isn’t that I didn’t like the Rock Chick series, only that I had a hard time giving the books a higher grade because they are so whacked editorially speaking. It’s almost as if Kristen Ashley has her own language, like a form of pig latin, and you read enough of the book and you start thinking like her, in word jumbles. Then when you come out of it, you think to yourself, “what the heck was that I just read?”

  48. Las
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 21:04:33

    I want to like Kristin Ashley. There’s a tone to her books that I find really appealing, but the two I read haven’t worked for me. If Mystery Man had been about half the length I would have loved it, but the constant repetition made all of Ashley’s many tics impossible to ignore after a while. I DNF’d Motorcycle Man–the crazy ex-wife was too much and I had some issues with the situation surrounding his kids. When the “Women are jealous bitches” conversation happened I gave up.

    And I need someone to explain to me why everyone whispers, because, damn, that was annoying.

    I’m going to try Rocker Chick before giving up on KA. I mostly like her heroines, and the books I read managed to be both intense and funny, a combination I don’t come across often. Her books would be fantastic with decent editing.

  49. Kaetrin
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 00:13:17

    @jane_l: Do you think KA heroes are a little like Shannon McKenna heroes? From the excerpts, it kinda sounds like they do.

    McKenna is (mostly) without the grammar and typo issues and I find her books cracktastic (cracktastic/crackalicious doesn’t mean the same thing to me as others it appears – I just think of it as a bit of a guilty pleasure, often politically incorrect, but not necessarily error ridden).

    I’ve had Motorcycle Man on my TBR since KatiD’s recent KA review, and it’s in the reading queue.

  50. Janine
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 01:05:45

    Damn you, Angela James! :) Now I’m seriously tempted to read this too, even though as a slow reader I have limited time for books that have already been reviewed at DA. I try to focus my energies on books I can review. These top ten reasons don’t help!

  51. Taryn Elliott
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 02:39:24

    @Angela James:

    I just went on a Rock Chick frenzy. Holy Crap. Crack is right.
    I have these to try–but the prose is a little more dense in these passages than they are in Rock Chick books. So, I don’t think I’ll plow thru them quite as quickly.

    I totally whipped through the RC books 1-3. And while I had to get used to the stream of consciousness type of writing…once I did? I was TOAST.

    I had to take a break because 5am every night was getting to be a bit much. Whooeee.

  52. MikiS
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 02:45:09

    Gak. I’ll pass.

    Guys like this don’t get redeemed, they get restraining orders and bury the bodies in the desert.

  53. Moenen
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 03:46:53


    Yeah, no kidding. #10, #9, and #8 make the male character sound like every other so-called alpha male that gets mocked so often on DA and SBTB, so I’m not sure why everyone in this thread is going ga-ga over him.

    I mean, I know there’s a market for that kind of character, but controlling assholes who assault the heroine are a dime a dozen in romance novels, so I’m not sure why this book in particular is supposed to be so appealing for including it.

  54. Ellie
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 05:01:23

    I had my own cracktastic stage with her books, but I know I’ll never reread a single one. The guys are knuckle-draggers to the extreme, and I don’t find that sexy. I don’t care how good the sex is, you have to respect and like the person. It’s just how I’m wired. She’s also way too wordy. And the errors, no. I’ll spend my money on books that are finished.

  55. joann
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 15:50:05

    Love Love Love KA books!! I first read Knight then went on to read the Rock Chick, Colorado, Burg and Mystery Man series. Her epilogues are the BEST!!!

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  57. joanne
    Sep 22, 2012 @ 18:18:59

    I finished all the new releases I had ordered and am about 7 chapters into MM. Sweet baby Jesus. I can’t believe how awful the hero is and I really, really can’t believe that I can’t put the stupid book down. If I buy another one I’m going to launch a formal complaint against DA for pushing crack.

  58. pamelia
    Sep 22, 2012 @ 19:38:46

    @ joanne: one of Kristen Ashley’s specialties is taking a man who does something UNFORGIVABLY assholey at the start of a book and then getting the heroine and the reader(s) to fall in love with him anyway. Buckle up!

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    Nov 21, 2012 @ 06:40:08

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  61. Lia
    Jan 05, 2013 @ 01:44:34

    Based on the reviews here, reading it as we speak.

    Thusfar, I enjoy it the way I enjoy chocolate: delighted, with a hint of guilt.

    But I have to say it: she should definitely employ someone to edit her books. Especially the lack of punctuation marks stood out. Even to me, as a non-native English speaker, the reading experience would have been improved, had it been edited better.

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