Tuesday, June 30, 2015

ARC Review:Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley

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 . . .

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What I thought about Ride Steady
It's been a long wait since the last Chaos book, and I was eager to get my greedy little hands on this book.  I love this series, it's probably my favorite of all the MC series that I read. There's something about these characters and their stories that just wrap around me like a warm blanket.  It's comfort reading, for sure.

In Ride Steady, we meet Joker.  If you've been reading this series, you might remember him from the night Shy and the boys had to save Tabby's best friend from becoming a porn star.  He's cold and hard, and even Tack is worried that someday he's going to blow.  

But underneath all that anger he wears, Joker, aka Carson Steele, has a story.  Growing up with an abusive father, he made it through with the help of a few good people--a couple of neighbors and a teacher who recognized something in him. When he finally escapes his abuse, he eventually finds a path to Chaos at the automotive shop where he'd watch Tack and Rush he was younger. 

Caressa Teodora was the high school cheerleader everyone wanted, and the girl the rich, connected quarterback got. Even so, she's still nice to everyone, including classmate Carson Steele.Years later, her life isn't so great but it starts looking up when Joker helps her out with an automotive emergency, giving them both a second chance at happiness.

What I love about this series is the underlying family theme that is so very strong in these stories. When the members of Chaos say they are brothers, they truly mean they are family, and that is demonstrated with how Tack and the boys handle Joker.  Tack takes him under his wing to tell him about redemption and the love of a good woman and he pulls out all the stops to help him and Caressa have their happily ever after. That's what I love about Tack -- he may be rough around the edges, but his heart is huge when it comes to his family and that family includes his brothers in Chaos. There are so many good Tack moments in this (and Shy, Tyra, Tabby, Elivra and Rush moments too) that I would buy this just for that. 

All Carissa wants is family. She's dreamed of children and a husband to take care of, but that's not what she got. I was touched by her strength, in spite of being pretty much alone. When she gets a little help from Chaos, it's great to see her find her backbone and the love of a good man she deserves.

It's the characters that draw me into this series and Kristen Ashley's skill at constructing a story. Her writing is more comfortable than it is technically correct, and it's so easy to fall into this world. Ride Steady has tons of foreshadowing of things to come, and I'm hoping for some real action to happen in the upcoming books.  (Waiting patiently for Rush's book, too.)

Love this series.  While Shy is still my guy, Joker has some awesome qualities that you don't want to miss. I definitely recommend this MC series, especially if you like your MC's on the honorable side.  
ARC provided for review.

About the Author

Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake. Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up.  And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

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