MINI REVIEW: Rock Chick Rescue, Rock Chick Redemption, Rock Chick Renegade series by Kristen Ashley
The following are mini reviews of books 2, 3, and 4 in the Rock Chick series by Kristen Ashley. I read these in lieu of my category books even though they are each about twice as long as an HP. All the books feature a woman in jeopardy, girl parties with the Rock Chicks that end up in some kind of brawl or mishap, and the men to the rescue.
Rock Chick Rescue by Kristen Ashley
Jet is the shy martyr heroine who takes care of her mother who recently suffered a stroke and works two jobs (one at the coffee shop and one as a waitress at a strip club). She is in lust with Eddie Hernandez but figures a guy like him could never be interested in a homely girl like her. Of course, Jet is not homely but instead is gorgeous and Eddie has wanted her after seeing her for the first time. This was problematic for me because in Rock Chick, Eddie supposedly had feelings for Indy for decades. That he could overcome this so quickly didn’t seem very genuine to me.
While I liked Jet, her constant low opinion of herself was tiresome. Everyone told her she was gorgeous yet she refused to believe it, thus conveniently drawing out the emotional conflict.
The obligatory “get me” statement:
“Whatever happens, you’re worth it and I don’t want to hear you say again you’re not. Get me?”
The obligatory “pain in the ass” statement:
“It’s a good thing you’re so damn pretty, Chiquita, because mostly, you’re a pain in the ass.”
A black lady is introduced into the cast of characters. I will note that while there are men of various ethnicities who play the hero role throughout the series, the women are largely anglo and none of the hero or heroines are black. Native American, Mexican American, Hawaiian (and thus Asian American descent) all represent in the “Hot Guy Bunch” as they are called. A black guy becomes part of the Lee Nightingale crew so hopefully Ashley will write his story else I’ll be sorely disappointed.
There are some racial overtones to the book in that Eddie is Mexican American and there are some white girl jokes spouted off by some black characters. I felt vaguely uncomfortable but acknowledged that these were likely authentic dialogue. Example:
“I’m gonna go say hi,” Ally said.
Indy grabbed her.
“Don’t say hi! We’re in Darius Domain. He doesn’t want some white woman in red knit with her ass hanging out walking up to him to say hi.”
I found Eddie to be slightly overbearing and Jet to be slightly too much of a martyr. I’d give this a C-
Rock Chick Redemption by Kristen Ashley
This was my second favorite Rock Chick book. It is the love story between Roxie Gilbert, web designer on the run, and Hank Nightingale, bad ass cop. Roxie fell in love with Billy Flynn who proceeded to drag her from city to city, making money likely through illicit means, and isolating Roxie from friends and family. Roxie would try to run away and Billy would find her and bring her back. Except for the one time in which Billy pushed Roxie against the wall and told her that she could never leave him and the other time he took a sledgehammer to Roxie’s door, she was never physically afraid of Billy but she knew she had to get rid of him. (Frankly I thought Roxie’s blind belief that she was physically safe from Billy was insane. He had classic stalker/girlfriend beater written all over him but I even forgave Roxie for this because she later acknowledges that she was stupid to believe Billy was safe and too cocky to think she could outrun him without some help). Roxie devises a plan to save enough money to get her to Mexico and off the grid, some place where Billy can never find her. She stops off first in Denver, CO, to see her uncle Tex, a former Vietnam veteran who had cut off ties with his family. Tex is a crazy guy who cat sits and makes divine coffees.
Roxie, unlike Jet, is a looker. She dresses well, looks good, has her own business, is friends with a funny female businesswoman, and if it weren’t for her really bad taste in men, she’d be pretty set in life.
Hank is much less of a Neanderthal than the other guys of the Hot Bunch (as the Rock Chick girls call them). There’s no “get me-ing” or “pain in the ass” refrain in this book. Roxie feels tainted by her association with Billy and thus not good enough for the very good guy, Hank. Hank’s a sweetheart:
“I wasn’t asleep when you sang ‘Because the Night’ either.”
I jerked up on my elbow again. “Please tel me you’re kidding.”
“Nope,” he said again.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
I rolled away, he rolled with me, caught me around the waist and pulled me back into his body.
“Now, I have to leave,” I said.
“It’s embarrassing. My singing sucks.”
“It sounded good to me.”
“That’s because you like me.”
He kissed my neck.
Then he settled behind me and said, “Yeah.”
But, just to make sure that we haven’t gotten our hopes up too high, there are some exhaustive rundowns of the attire of the heroine, in depth descriptions of Hank’s house, and fulsome meal listings. After a while, I kind of looked at this as a feature. Like would she forget to tell me the brand of the shirt this time? or maybe the shoes? whether they had gueyere cheese dip or fresh chopped salsa?
We went into the Levi’s store where he bought me a pair of low-rise jeans that were just this short of being as good as Lucky’s, a great belt that was so dark brown, it was nearly black and a dusty pink henley. It wasn’t D&G but it would do in a pinch. Then we went into a Body Gap and I got new underwear. Then we went to Designer Shoe Warehouse and Vance bought me a pair of Keds so I could change out of Manolo Mary Jane’s.
I sometimes wonder if Ashley isn’t paid by the word like the scribes of old… C
Rock Chick Renegade by Kristen Ashley
This is probably my least favorite Rock Chick book even though I liked the characters separately, or at least I wanted to like the characters. It was primarily the overwriting, the repetitiveness, and the non stop oversharing that detracted from a positive read. There was one very special scene in the book that I liked.
Juliet Lawler is a social worker who became too attached to the kids she was trying to get off the street. One of her favorite kids died either from an overdose or bad drugs and Jules took to the street. She would play games with the dealers by interrupting buys with smoke bombs or shrink wrapping their doors. She started making a name for herself on the street and thus became a target. One drug dealer was convinced that she loved him and others wanted her out of commission. Enter Vance Crowe, member of the Nightingale Security company. Vance takes an immediate liking to Jules but he wants her off the street as well. His methods are fairly heavy handed.
Jules felt like she had the right to be on the street but the way the story was written made her look like a foolish twit. I was frustrated with her and her portrayal and wished she had been written to be more competent.
Requisite pain in the ass reference:
“Girl, it’s a good thing you’re so fuckin’ beautiful or you’d be a serious pain in the ass.”
Apparently the first person becomes limiting and there are point of view switches from Jules to Vance (rarely) and other random people. These switches from first person to third person were awkward and intrusive.
Jules is a virgin and while I appreciated the meaningfulness of it in the context of the overall story (Vance had never had anything that was solely his) the cherry popping scene was mortifying. Jules has a conversation with her friend May and a bunch of the Rock Chicks, none of which she knows well, and has a discussion about how to proceed to lose her virginity to Vance. Some advise her to not tell him, others say confess. What she doesn’t know is that her house is totally wired with cameras and sound and the entire Nightingale crew eventually sees this conversation. It’s a big joke for everyone in the book but I thought it was super skeevy.
Vance jumped off the counter and leaned into me to put his bowl next to mine. “You ever do a shift in the surveillance room, you’ll understand. Gotta have something to break the monotony.”
I turned to him. “Well, break it with something else. I don’t want to make an enemy of Lee.”
His arms slid around me. “That’s not gonna happen.” His face came close to mine. “The cherry poppin’ conversation in your living room was the topic of conversation for days. Mace taped it and played it for the whole team.”
I was back to staring at him with my mouth open and I think my heart stopped beating. “Look at this as your way of getting even,” he finished.
At times, I felt like I was watching the Maury Povich show or some other reality TV show where the women overshare, sometimes attack each other, and the men beat their chests. D
Surely that is enough for today. I’ll have the rest of the Rock Chicks tomorrow.