Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

REVIEW: Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley

Dear Ms. Ashley:

I admit I had reservations when I heard that the next Ashley book was  to be Tabby and Shy’s story.  Tabby is the daughter of Tack Allen, the  president of the Chaos Motorcycle Club.  At the end of Motorcycle Man,  Tabby is 19 years old and Parker “Shy” Cage is 24 years old.  I didn’t feel like the Chaos  MC type of stories fit a younger couple.  I should have trusted you.

Own the Wind Kristen AshleyTab believes she is in love with Shy but he’s too busy enjoying his life as an attractive young man whose good looks and bad boy status cemented by the membership in the Chaos MC makes him nearly irresistible catnip for the ladies.  Tab parties and gets caught up with a less than desirable crowd.  When Shy comes to extricate herself, she points out that the crowd she is with is hardly different than the MC that her father runs and in which Shy is a member.  Shy takes it upon himself to cruelly make Tab realize that her actions aren’t getting her what she thinks she wants.

From then on whatever tentative friendship Tab and Shy had was destroyed and Tab went out of her way to separate herself from Chaos.  Through a series of chapters, Tabby is aged from 19 to 22.  We see  her fall out of love with Shy .  We see her learn  what it is to truly love some one as an adult.  And we see her suffer  loss.  As we cycle through these periods in Tabby’s life, the reader  is treated to Tabby’s coming of age.  She gains independence and  confidence.  She moves out of the protective umbrella of her father  and seeks a different and new life as a nurse.

When Shy and Tabby do get together, the conflict is in part the  acceptance of their relationship by not only Tack and Tyra but also  the club itself.   We also see Tab and Shy negotiate the power within the relationship.

There were a couple of scenes that I found really fascinating.  One  involves  scenes centering around Tack, Tyra Shy and Tabby, we see  Tack and Tyra at odds with the younger couple and the older pair  aren’t afraid to modulate their opinions.  Both Tack and Tyra say  hurtful things to Tabby.  Rarely are main protagonists ever presented  in a negative light in subsequent books.  They are usually only  trotted out for readers to affirm that the HEA is till going on.  That  Tack and Tyra could be presented as doing hurtful things worked  because their response was as a concerned parent.  Plus, it sets the  stage for Tabby to let her independence flag fly.

Another involves a secondary character who is hurt, unintentionally by Tabby and Shy. There is a grittiness to these scenes.  Tab and Shy’s powerful love doesn’t mean  that everyone around them is totally happy.

Secondary stories were set up well in the story.  Because the club  plays such a big role in the conflict, it was natural to include  information about the club including its expansion goals and the  struggle that Rush, the heir to the MC throne, is having with the less  savory aspects of the Chaos operation.

There are a few things that bothered me (and it wasn’t the progression of Tab’s life through a series of short chapters because each one of those advanced the plot but I can see how this might bother others).  Shy is a manwhore, taking two women to his bed at a time but hardly ever remembering their names.  There’s a subtle push that women who act this way aren’t worth having as your old lady (aka significant other).  Given that so many Ashley books are so female positive, I wish there wasn’t this subtle judgment about a woman and her sexuality.   There was also the denigration of other types of men who are not MC members.  We get that those guys are hot.  We don’t need to run down others in order to elevate the brothers.

I think it is a good book for newcomers. If a reader was curious about the series but reluctant to delve into the self published pile, this book presents tighter prose but still delivers the same delicious Ashley romance.   The Chaos MC club is an important part of the story and new people are introduced but older characters are included only to the extent that they play an important role in either Tab and Shy’s romance or set up for future books. Isn’t my favorite Ashley book but it’s a very solid addition to the backlist.  B

Best regards,

Jane

AmazonBNSonyKoboAREBook DepositoryGoogle

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

27 Comments

  1. Christine
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 09:39:41

    I’m about a third of the way through this book (It came through on my Kindle around 12:30 am and I am now yawning at work). I have the same problem with Shy you seemed to. It seems his only monogamous relationship before Tabby lasted a whole of 2 months or so and ends the same day (or hour or two) he hooks up with Tabby. While Tack had to do a lot of redeeming in my eyes for him to become heroic in Motorcycle Man it’s made clear he’s monogamous when in a committed relationship and did not partake in BeeBee (?) sharing. Shy is serious a “dawg” as everyone in the book likes to refer to him and I’m interested to see whether I buy his commitment to Tabby based on the fact that she is “the one” for him.

    Jane said “There’s a subtle push that women who act this way aren’t worth having as your old lady (aka significant other). ” This is kind of a theme in the few books of hers I’ve read but rather than just that they are “slutty” and therefore deserve it, her judgement seems to be that they are pushovers and just do whatever the guys want and they don’t respect them. Neither Hawk nor Tack are interested in Gwen or Tyra until they get mad and stand up to them. Up to that point they are either a late night booty call or a party hook up. I’m getting the message from Ashley that if you don’t like being smacked on the behind and told to get out after sex- if you just go along with being treated like that you can’t complain about it. But there is definitely a double standard there, as there is in SO MUCH of her books. (Why do no women ever ride motorcyles? They can only be passengers and be driven?) You kind of have to go with it if you are going to read her books. I am very glad Shy gets tested, condoms or no condoms and I would have suggested Tabby demand that before she even kissed him, but that’s just me.

  2. mari
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 11:33:57

    I’ve read motorcycle man and loved it. So I’ll probably read this one too. Given this author has SUCH an extensive backkist, where do you reccomend I go next?

  3. Isobel Carr
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 12:30:24

    @mari: Today’s post THE SCIENCE OF THE GLOM was kind of about that exact topic: http://dearauthor.com/features/essays/the-science-of-the-glom/

  4. Kati
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 13:01:42

    @mari: Hi Mari – I’ve read them all and loved. My next favorite Kristen Ashley is Sweet Dreams, which is part of the Colorado Dreams series. If you liked Tack, you’ll like it too, I think.

    Good luck! Hope you enjoy the KA ride. It was my favorite part of reading last year!

  5. Courtney
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 14:18:57

    I loved Motorcyle Man and I can’t wait to read about Tab and Shy.

    Regarding KA’s backlist, I will say that I read MM first and then was disappointed with “Mystery Man,” the first in the Dream Man series. I saw a lot of similarities between Gwen and Tyra and that bothered me in terms of their language and I had a hard time buying the premise-dude slips into the heroine’s bed every night for a year or a year and a half, but they don’t have any other relationship until her sister’s in trouble.

    I have read all of her Unfinished Heroes Series-“Knight,” “Creed,” and “Raid,” and really enjoyed them. She has such a distinct voice that I think if you like her style, you’ll probably like most of them. If you don’t, you won’t.

  6. Lori
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 15:20:16

    I disliked Motorcycle Man for a variety of reasons but could see why so many people loved KA. I liked the Sweet Dream series. Despised Rock Chick and had to stop reading before I had an anyeurism from the rage it caused.

    KA is one of the most interesting writers I’ve read this year. When I dislike what she does, I really vehemently dislike it and when I like it then I inhale it.I’ve never read another author like her.

    I’ll give this a pass but I think I’ll try the Unfinished Heroes instead.

  7. Tina
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 17:28:39

    I loved this book. Probably over-starred it because it felt tight and well edited. I have always really liked KA’s voice and felt that with judicious editing, all the raw potential there would shine better. For me, this book proved it. I thought there were some great scenes especially centered around how everyone – the Chaos crew, Tack & Tyra felt betrayed by Shy and Tabby’s romance. And then in turn, Shy and Tabby felt betrayed by everyone’s reactions. As external conflict for the romance it felt spot on.

    Motorcycle Man was my fave of the Dream Man series. Liked Wild Man too. Hated, Hated Law Man and wasn’t too keen on Mystery Man.

    Enjoyed her Colorado Mountain’ series.
    Meh about the Unfinished Heroes series.
    Really liked her ‘Burg series,.
    Bored by the two Rock Chick books I read and haven’t wanted to try any more in that series.

    Read her vampire/werewolf books and don’t believe she does paranormal world building well at all. So I wasn’t too impressed there.

    Really, really surprised by her Gothic-style ghost story romance, ‘Lucky Stars’. Wouldn’t have known she had written it if I hadn’t, well, known she had written it. Very different from the rest of her stuff she’s written. Enjoyed it a lot and have just started ‘Sommersgate House’ another gothic-style ghost story romance. Also feels very different in style and tone. SO there is some unexpected versatility there.

  8. annie
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 18:24:13

    i tried reading MM and really couldnt. everyone was recommending it so i gave it another shot..it read better the second time around. wasnt too crazy about it but i did like it enough to try KA’s other books. I was very keen on reading Tabbys story….but god, this was a huge let down. all her books sound the same. the language, the words, even some plot devices. sometimes i even have a hard time understanding what theyre saying. the dialogue really, really sucks. its like KA writes the dialogue as its coming to her head…no proofreading/editing…nada.

    also, i find the books to be degrading towards women. i dont appreciate women beng referred to by their lady parts (i guess im a 26 year old prude). and the women are complete doormats. as soon u think theyve devleoped a backbone, a kiss melts them *major eyeroll*

  9. Holly
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 22:00:30

    I agree with Christine, I had trouble with believing Shy in a committed relationship. I don’t understand WHY he was with Rosalie and didn’t tell Tabby at all, despite all the time he spent with her, it just made no sense. Then basically he goes an hour between girlfriends. What’s wrong with a dry spell? I also felt that he overreacted a lot – to Tabby at the beginning, when she finds out about Rosalie, when she’s going to leave, then over some things she did later in the book.

    I did like Tabby and I really liked the Tyra/Tabby scene after they learn about her and Shy. The glimpses of the couple in the next book were intriguing.

  10. mads
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 01:12:49

    Couldn’t stop reading it, LOVED IT. It joins my favourite Kristen Ashley pile along with Motorcycle Man, Sweet Dreams and The Gamble. My BFF who is my romance reading buddy hates KA but KA Crack works for me. Can’t wait for Lanie and Hop.

    I just want to dive into KA’s world and meet such amazing people. The women, the men, the secondary characters (Tex!!!! Elvira!!!) are people you would want in your life.

    KA takes a place with Lisa Kleypas (of old) and Susan Elizabeth Phillips as my favourite romance writer.

    Will add- I’ve read her entire backlist. Only a few were bad/boring for me …
    I would recommend the Colorado Mountain series (though I couldn’t finish Breathe and Lady Luck was a struggle)
    I liked The Burg series, particularly At Peace but they aren’t favourites.
    I loved the Rock Chicks, surprised some didn’t. They got a bit samey after a while, but they were still fun.
    The paranormals are relatively good, looking forward to the third in the series.
    The fantasies are seriously WTF and one of them is plainly ripping off Game of Thrones in a big way.
    The stand alone titles are hit and miss. The ghost ones didn’t work for me, but Heaven and Hell was fantastic.
    The Unfinished Heroes are not great in my opinion. Knight was … a struggle and horrible for obvious reasons if you’ve read it. Creed was terrible and boring. Raid was very forgettable.
    Mystery Man was my first KA but Motorcycle Man eclipsed it and was far better. And I am LOVING Chaos.

    Her edited work is so much tighter, I really think her knew book deal is going to lead to wonderful things. She has the potential to be the Queen of the genre.

  11. BJW
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 10:55:33

    @mari: There is a whole series called the Mystery Man series which includes Motocycle Man. The first one is Mystery Man, Law Man, Wild Man and then Motocyce Man. They are ALL good. There’s the Colorado Mountain series – ALL good. There’s the Unfinished Heroes Series, but I only like the first and third: Knight and then Raid. That should give you a running start.

  12. ducky
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 11:45:12

    Meh, I didn’t like Shy at all. Firstly, his level of man-whoring is really kind of disgusting. Constantly more than one woman in his bed – I wouldn’t want to touch him without rubber gloves and industrial strength disinfectant. Secondly, the way he dumped his gf of 3 months in 2 seconds flat and hooked up with Tabby 2 seconds later was like anti-classy. And that gf of his cleaning his pigsty of an apartment – clean your own apartment, dude.

    Am I really supposed to expect a douchebag like that to remain monogamous? Right.

  13. Zara Keane
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 11:51:36

    Given that Kristen Ashley got her start self-publishing, I was disappointed to discover ‘Own the Wind’ is geographically restricted.

  14. Kati
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 13:21:28

    @Zara Keane: Zara – read on the Smart Bitches interview with Amy Pierpont, who is the GCP editor for Kristen Ashley that they were working hard to get Own the Wind pubbed overseas. Hopefully the restrictions will be lifted soon.

  15. Jane
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 13:25:44

    So here’s my take on Shy and Tab and you can all tell me I’m wet about this. But Shy and Tabby were good friends for a long while and then when Shy was really cruel to Tab, she shut him out of her life. He missed her but he didn’t really realize how much he missed her until …

    Buried Comment (Reason: spoiler)   Show

    He saw her with that other guy with all the love in her heart and he was struck by how much that was what he wanted. He changed after that. He cleaned up his act. Started dating someone seriously. Went after someone he thought he could love and live with forever.

    But yeah, I don’t think we always need manwhore to be shorthand for handsome, attractive hero.

  16. Zara Keane
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 13:29:36

    @Kati: Thanks for letting me know! I hadn’t seen that comment. I hope they do resolve the issue as I’d like to buy the book.

  17. Christine
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 13:39:01

    @Jane- Shy didn’t clean up his act until a year or so (at least) after the event you speak of.

    I found his type of man-whoring WAY over the top. He needed (IMHO) more than two months of any monogamous relationship (especially by the age of 27) before settling down with Tabby.

    I did however, enjoy the book and will read the next one when it comes out. I liked how Tabby and he were more equal financially (not completely because he was five years older than her and had saved for years) but she was a working nurse with her own apartment and had already accumulated savings to contribute. It wasn’t all about him being a secret millionaire- they had a mortgage and had to consider whether to buy a top of the line refrigerator.

    The paradox of Kristin Ashley is that she writes the language and behavior of absolute “dawgs” as real and raw as possible then has them be the most monogamous and committed men. Which, lets face it is a romance staple. In Motorcycle Man (and I am somewhat shocked I am typing this) she made me buy it- based on Tack’s past behavior and history, age etc. With Shy it just seemed like a complete 180.

  18. Jane
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 13:41:28

    @Christine: I understand where you are coming from. I think part of my acceptance was that Shy and Tab were predestined to be a couple but I agree that his manwhore tendencies could have been tamed down. Frankly I don’t know why we had to see him with his little menages. What was the point of that other than to further divide the “good” girls from the “bad” ones.

    It’s weird because I get such a pro female vibe from Ashley’s books but some subtle judgment too. I’m never sure what to make of it.

  19. Christine
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 14:37:18

    @Jane- as I said above I get the vibe you are talking about- there are some women who are just “skanks” and some are “old lady material” but I feel 1.) she is reflecting the male characters point of view (which while not PC- many men do feel) and 2.) her own personal judgement is against “pushovers. ” She makes a big point that Tack and Hawk are just treating Tyra and Gwen as hookups until they show their personalities and tempers. If the women want more it’s up to them not to be kicked out the bed after a slap on the behind. And I do think there was some judgement for Shy by the brothers because of his man whoring but only because it affected Tabby.

  20. Tina
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 14:50:52

    You know, I didn’t find Shy’s man-whoring any more atypical than a lot alpha heroes that routinely populate romancelandia. In many books an off hand comment is given about Hero-so-and-so having a different woman on his arm each night. It is implied that he’s boning these different women each night. Sometimes it is even explicitly stated. But since we are not always given graphic visual, we can assume whatever we want about the state of the sexual encounter. KA isn’t giving us that polite out, she is more in-your-face about showing it.

    Sometimes I will find myself questioning what is it about the heroine that makes the former man-ho change his ways. What is it about her that makes her so special that you will now be faithful and that this one woman is enough? Sometimes the writer will convince me of the HEA. Sometimes they won’t. I thought KA did a good job of convincing me that Shy and Tab would succeed.

  21. pamelia
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 16:32:55

    I really enjoyed this one, but it wasn’t one of my favorite KAs (those would be: Sweet Dreams, Lady Luck, Breathe, At Peace, Golden Dynasty, Knight, Motorcycle Man). I missed some of the extra stuff she usually packs into her books and I think the secondary characters got shorted a little bit. I would’ve liked to see more of Pete and also Tack and Tyra’s kids. Plus, other than Natalie, Tab had no interactions with friends to unpack her feelings — I really missed that. KA writes family and friend relationships so well that it really bolsters up the emotional heft of her books and in OTW there was just not enough for me.
    Still, it was lovely to read one of her books without the “past/passed” type of editing errors and without even one moment of “wait— what did he just try to say??!”. I’m hopeful that a better balance gets drawn in the next pro-pubbed book.

  22. Kini
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 19:42:53

    I finished OtW late last night. I really enjoyed it, not my favorite, but still good.

    By far, the BEST KA book is the hardly ever mentioned Heaven and Hell. Sam is right up there with Tack. Kia starts from a very ugly place. Tears were shed while reading this book.

  23. Robin/Janet
    Apr 04, 2013 @ 00:32:49

    I need to re-read this one, but my first reaction was that I felt it had been slightly over-edited, that it lacked some of the cracktastic OTTness of the other books. Also, I sometimes felt that Shy seemed very Tack-like and not so much his own character (although I agree that it was so cool that Tack and Tyra were not perfectly ever after in this book). And I agree with those who wish for an end to the slut-shaming and the fact that the girls always end up on the back of the bikes. Although that’s actually not completely true, because Nina, the heroine of The Gamble, is a lawyer who out-earns the hero.

    Still, I love Tabby and was really excited for her story. I think Ashley has an amazing ability to capture some incredibly traditional, almost reactionary traits and mesh them with some really progressive, envelope-pushing elements. And she pushes both as far as they can go, breaking many of of the so-called Romance Rulez. I think this may be part of why she captures readers all along the ideological spectrum. Also, I never feel that her heroes suppress who the heroine is. They want the heroines to submit to their world, but they don’t want them to be passive/submissive followers.

  24. Maggie
    Apr 04, 2013 @ 12:13:07

    Add one to the “loved it, but not my favorite KA” column.

    I, too, was a little apprehensive about the young protagonists; but she made it work, mostly because Tabby was more mature at 23 than pretty much any 23 year old I have ever met, including myself.

    As for the manwhoriness, I interpreted the early parts of their relationship as Shy not initially liking Tabby that much, but then, after he took her from that party and she told him off and kissed him, his feelings changed and made very clear when he saw her with her fiance and when he hung out with her after the fiance’s death. However, he never thought she would ever feel the same way, so he tried to move on.

    I don’t know. In any case, that was the least inconsistent thing for me. I had a problem with him kicking the shit out of Dr. Dickhead, but that’s a whole ‘nother post :)

  25. Courtney
    Apr 05, 2013 @ 12:04:56

    I picked it up at 3 am this morning when I couldn’t sleep which I knew was a bad idea, because I was unable to put it down. This was 4-5 stars for me. Overall, I loved Tab’s story and Shy’s, although I think MM was slightly better (even though it was written without an editor originally). I actually think that my favorite part of the book was when Tab took on Tyra for ignoring her calls and treating her like a child, not an adult, and when Shy told Tab later that he was going to have a hard time forgiving the brothers when none of them stuck up for him with Tack and when Tack seemed to poised to call a vote.

    I love Kristen’s writing, but I’ve been selective about the titles I’ve read so I’m not one of those folks who thinks every book is perfect, but I thought she did the crush-to friends-to lovers story really, really well.

    I wasn’t put off by Shy dumping Rosalie once Tab admitted her feelings. For me, the bikers are presented as living in the present. He’d been in love with her for years, resigned himself to never having her and when she opened the door, he jumped on it. Was it slightly cold and callous to Rosalie? Yes, but he LOVED Tab, while he cared for Rosalie.

    I think KA is very nicely setting up the remainder of the series – anyone else think Lanie ends up pregnant?

  26. Janet W
    Apr 05, 2013 @ 15:13:33

    Pamelia and Robin hit the nail for why this will be a good but not great Ashley read for me. It did feel over-edited (and I don’t have the editing experience to go further than to agree with how Robin put it) and I did miss the interactions with friends that would have deepened my understanding of Tabby. Of course Raid was not professionally edited and it suffered, imo, from the same closed world syndrome. Ashley has conditioned me to expect a relationship in a wider-world-context and when it’s not there, I miss it.

  27. Daily Deals: A 99c book I’d recommend, a few contemps, and a Chinese set thriller
    Aug 04, 2013 @ 12:02:04

    […] At this price, I felt the urge to buy it again. Good thing Amazon doesn’t allow you to do that. I reviewed the book here. […]

%d bloggers like this: