Thursday, August 8, 2013

Reviews: The Gamble & Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley

The Gamble (Colorado Mountain, #1)
The Gamble (Colorado Mountain #1) by Kristen Ashley
Publication Date: December 11th 2012 by Forever (Grand Central Publishing) 
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Love is the greatest gamble of all . . .

Nina Sheridan desperately needs a timeout vacation. With a fiancé who can't even remember how she takes her coffee, Nina wants some distance to rethink her engagement. Flying halfway around the world from England to a mountain town in Colorado should do the trick. But when she finds a gorgeous man at her rental cabin, Nina's cold, lonely adventure suddenly heats up.

The owner of the house, Holden "Max" Maxwell is surprised by the beautiful woman who turns up at his door. But when Nina becomes ill, Max spends days nursing her back to health. A private man with a broken heart, Max finds himself drawn to the strong-willed woman. Soon it becomes impossible for Nina and Max to deny their growing attraction to one another. Yet even as these two wounded lovebirds think about taking a chance on a relationship, a dangerous secret from Max's past emerges-and threatens to end their love for good.

My Thoughts:
Well, this was a lot of fun! Can I have my own Colorado Macho Mountain Man?!! Max was a typical Kristen Ashley Alph-Male, but isn't that what we love about her writing? Domineering, possessive, growly, and of course, 100% HOT!!

Nina was a cutie and I loved her big heart. This poor girl got knocked around a fair amount. I would say Daemon paid dearly, though. The secondary characters were loads of fun and provided extra entertainment throughout. This story was long but I never felt it lost my attention. KA definitely knows how to write an addictive story that will have you clicking through pages, oblivious to all that surrounds you.

Favorite quote:
"I lucked out, baby," Max went on. "When I was young life handed me somethin' beautiful. Then it took it away. Ten years down the road, somethin' different, but no less beautiful, showed up right at my front door. I knew it almost the minute I saw it and nothin' has happened since to shake that. You think, findin' that in you, I'm gonna let you change my password, write me some f&%ked up note and walk away?"

This was originally a self-published book released April 11th 2011, but an enterprising publisher must have seen Kristen Ashley's widespread popularity and scooped this series up.  I can't say I blame  them!

4 Suns

A copy was provided by Grand Central Publishing through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you. 

Sweet Dreams (Colorado Mountain, #2)
Sweet Dreams (Colorado Mountain #2) by Kristen Ashley
Publication Date: April 23rd 2011
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
She's ready for the ride of her life . . .

Lauren Grahame is looking to reinvent herself. After leaving her cheating husband, Lauren moves to Carnal, Colorado, and gets a job as a waitress in a biker bar called Bubba's. It's a nothing job in a nowhere joint . . . until Tatum Jackson walks in. Lauren has never seen a man with such good looks, muscles, and attitude. But when he insults her, Lauren doesn't want anything to do with him. Too bad for Lauren he's also the bar's part owner and bartender.

When the rough-around-the-edges Tate meets the high-class Lauren, he thinks she won't fit in at Bubba's. Yet there's more to Lauren than meets the eye, and Tate soon sets his mind on claiming her as his own. Before long, the desire burning between them is heating up the cold mountain air. But when violence strikes the town, Tate must reveal a dark secret to Lauren-one that may put an end to their sweet dreams.

My Thoughts:
This is actually the first Kristen Ashley I read.  I read it for a book club and I was assured you could read this series out of order, which is very true.  All in the Colorado Mountain series are companion novels and could be read like a stand alone.  You do get glimpses of prior characters in each book so that would be the only drawback of reading out of order.

 Forty-two year-old, Lauren's "picture perfect" marriage, of ten years, has fallen apart. She found out her husband, Brad, has been having an affair with her best friend for the last five years. Ouch! Lauren wants to escape the privileged life and her so-called friends (they all knew of the affair). After being on the road for four months, Lauren decides to settle “in a nowhere town” to have some peace.  She ends up in Carnal, Colorado at a biker bar called Bubba's, and snags a job as a waitress. Lauren takes residence in the local motel, and starts making friends. This is where she spots beautiful biker-man, Tate, pull up on his Harley, and meet up with a larger than life woman, Neeta. Little does she know that this beyond hot man is one of her bosses at Bubba's Bar.  These two do NOT hit it off at first. Tate says something, almost unforgivable (which completely PISSED me off!) about Lauren, and she overhears. Needless to say, these two lock heads for a while but there is obvious chemistry. Things begin to change when there's a murder and everyone is on alert. For some reason, beyond the understanding of Lauren, Tate makes Lauren's safety his priority.

I loved this book! Tate was alpha-male at its finest! He was possessive and protective. He could be rude and gruff, but his underlying loyalty and sweetness completely won me over! Plus, tattooed, hot biker guy, who can resist? I loved Lauren's character as well. To see her transformation from insecure and lost, to strong and confident was enjoyable. I was rooting for her at every step. She was such a sweetie, and her personal interest in everyone in the town, won them over to the point of everyone loving her. Everyone that is, except for Neeta, the woman we first see Tate with. Thankfully, Tate won't allow her to cause too many problems, but boy that woman was a hot mess!

You may have seen reviews on this book with people complaining of the typos, punctuation and run-on-sentence issues. This is true. In fact, this is the only reason I didn't rate it 5 stars. This author is self-published and unfortunately, the editing is not what it could be. If this sort of thing annoys you to the point of ruining a story, you'd be better off passing on this one.*  But if you can overlook these issues, I highly recommend this book. The story was addictive and touching. The mystery surrounding the killings was good too, I was guessing up to the very end. I will be reading the rest of the books in the Colorado Mountain series. Kristen Ashley has found a fan in me!

I have a lot of favorite quotes, but here’s one that cracked me up.  Tate with his typical caveman language:

“I’m gonna piss you off ‘cause I can be a dick. That’s who I am. And you’re gonna piss me off ‘cause, babe, you got attitude. That’s who you are. And that’s who we’re comin’ out to be together. And I’m all right with that because, with what I had before, even when you’re a bitch, I like it. But when you’re not, it’s a sweetness the like I’ve never tasted.”

*Since reading this back in 2012, Sweet Dreams was picked up by a major publisher and some of these kinks were probably worked out.

4.5 Suns

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  1. I am in LOVE with this series!!! I haven't even read it yet, but your reviews have me ver anxious to get my hands on them. And mentioned something about a hot, sexy, alpha-male...hmm.... lol ;p I can't wait to check this series out! I'm glad you enjoyed both books, Rachel! Fabulous reviews! :D

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 

    1. Thank you, Maida. Kristen Ashley is the queen of the Alpha Male! You'd be hard pressed to find someone who writes them better. :)

  2. EEEEE!!! I skimmed over your reviews, b/c I'm planning to read this series next. And b/c we've basically already discussed a lot about this series. I cannot wait. Kristen Ashley is officially my favorite author.

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