Sunday, June 7, 2015

Ride Steady Book Review

Title:  Ride Steady
Series:  Chaos
Author:  Kristen Ashley
Release Date:  June 30, 2015
My Rating:  4.5 Sinfully Sexy 's

First Thoughts:  Loved the sense of family in this one - the kind that's got your back no matter what.

Warning:  Prepare to fall in love with Joker - especially when you see him with a baby in his arms!

♥Many thanks to the publisher for providing me this ARC via Netgally.


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 . . .

My Review:

Carrisa Teodoro - High School cheerleader, member of the in-crowd, dating the high school golden boy.  On track for a beautiful fairytale life, right?  So how did she end up a single mom with a baby on her hip standing by the side of the freeway, with an Ex that not only refuses to come help her, but threatens to get full custody if she doesn't get their baby dropped off on time??  What happened to her white picket fence & Happy Ever After?

Carson Steele - A boy on the outside looking in at everything he knows he'll never have - the cheerleader, the friends, the life, a father who gives a shit.  Carson is an abused child with a burning rage, eating him alive.  He's living for the day he turns 18 & graduates high school to claim his own life & get the hell out of Dodge.  But the clock's ticking and one night, time runs out...

Twelve years later, fate intervenes in Carissa & Carson's (now know as Joker) life.  As Joker stops to help a stranded Carissa, recognition flares in his eyes & heart but he says nothing. He knew he wasn't good enough for her in high school, just as he knows she deserves better than him now.  MC guys don't have white picket fences . . . Or do they?  Carissa takes a step back from the big, badass motorcyclist who stops to help her.  She doesn't recognize him as the boy from HS but can't deny the sizzling connection that flames within when his eyes drift over her.  Thus begins  the journey of Joker & Carissa . . .Two damaged people wary of trusting anyone with their heart, both determined to make it on their own . . . and yet, powerless to stop the intense, magnetic force between them.   

Ride Steady is a heart-touching story of two people from opposite sides of the track, each learning to face their ghosts and let go, each daring to reach out and accept one another just as they are.  It is poignant & heart-touching, a sinfully sexy love story that is beautiful to see develop.  There is such a sense of family in this one - both traditional & non-traditional.  I loved the way Ashley brought in characters (2 neighbors & 1 teacher) from Joker's childhood who had given him a safe haven, a place to recover from his father's wrath, and made them part of his life now.  I also enjoyed Ashley's use of characters from other series & their involvement in Ride Steady.  At times, it's like a multi-series family reunion.  It was awesome to see Hawk, Mitch, Knight, Lee,  & others working along side the Chaos guys to help keep everyone safe.  As always, loved Shy, Hop, Tack...especially Tack, as he reaches out to Joker, emboding what true friendship & love is all about...a shining example of what being a brother means, what being part of a real family means.
"Fuck, Tack, she was a cheerleader."
Tack again lost his hilarity and speared Joker with his eyes.
"Now, brother, if you don't think you're good enough, the life you lead is good enough, the family you can give her is good enough, then we got a much bigger probem."
"Don't read that shit into it, because you know it isn't there. You also get me. There are women built for the life. There are women who take it on. But she deserves a white picket fence, Tack.
"Then give her one. No law says a biker can't live behind a white picket fence."
*(excerpt from Ride Steady - between Joker & Tack)

Carissa is a strong, kickass heroine - no TSTL girl here . . .she may be down in the beginning of this one but she is definitely not out.  Once she recognizes what she wants, she goes after it (him) like a dog on a bone.  Joker tries to discourage her but let's face it, he never really had a chance - especially not after the Chaos women, Tyra, Tabby, & yes, Elvira, not only adopt Carissa as one of their own, but join her campaign & cheer her on.  There are some great, funny scenes involving this crew in Ride Steady.  Like Joker, Carissa learns the true meaning of love, friendship, & family.

The suspense ramps up as Carissa's Ex begins a campaign to gain full custody of their child, Travis.  At the same time, danger invades the Chaos territory as a message is sent to the Club, Joker specifically, via a dead prostitute informant.  The plot development intensifies but for me, Ride Steady is carried on the shoulders of the characters - the badass, sinfully sexy MC guys with hearts of gold & their women who are just as tenacious & willing to fight for their men & families.  This is a beautiful ride - an awesome read!  Smokin' Hot!  Well done, KA!  A Must Read!  Loved it!!

My Rating:  4.5 Sinfully Sexy 's . . .And that's the truth!

Cross My Heart . . .xxx

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

IWSG: Unwind & Rewind With Me Time . . .

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a community of writers whose purpose is to share with and encourage other writers. Writers can express doubts and concerns and offer & receive encouragement and guidance.  IWSG posts the first Wednesday of every month.  Be sure to check out other IWSG writers/bloggers here:  IWSG Members

Unwind & Rewind With Me Time:

Anyone following my writing journey knows I've worked diligently on a time management plan, setting priorities and establishing a regular writing routine.  I've been pleased with my progress until recently.  It's amazing how you can be sailing along, feeling really great about things, only to be blown out of the water by things beyond your control.  I'm experiencing that now as recent family illnesses have wreaked havoc with my writing & time management plan, demanding most of my time & energy.  I've bemoaned the fact, beaten myself up over it, & almost given up a time or two - and then, did what I needed to do.  Fortunately, this isn't my first turn at bat - I realize that life often throws curveballs . . . You can stand there & watch it go by or swing for the fence . . . either quit or find a way to make things work.  

Thankfully, my mama didn't raise a quitter.  You'll find me swinging for the fence. So once again, I have to revisit, review & revise my plan, including time needed to care for & fulfill additional family obligations, along with my normal daily work schedule, while still finding blocks of uninterrupted time in which to write.  Stress and worry over the health of loved ones add pressure, as does misguided guilt each time I miss my scheduled writing time. Combined, they drain my creative energy, as I find it difficult to clear my head and quickly revert to my book world within little stolen slots of time.  So the question is: How do I utilize less free time in the best, most productive way possible to accomplish my writing goals?

After giving it some thought, I have come to the conclusion that the answer lies in finding some unwind & rewind me time . . . a few stolen minutes here & there to clear my head - a quiet walk enjoying Mother Nature, a few minutes snuggled in the porch swing with my beverage of choice, an occasional soothing soak in the tub instead of a quick shower at night - in other words, my first priority needs to be taking time to renew & rejuvenate my mind, body & soul - pamper myself with a little TLC.  On one hand, it seems like one more thing to add to an already overcrowded schedule, but on the other hand, mental & physical therapy is imperative to nourish a happy, positive person.   If I enjoy a few Me Minutes  each day to unwind & rewind, then I know I'll be more productive & creative when I sit down to write, in whatever time frame I'm able to schedule.  

It's important to me to continue writing every day.  As Mama said, "Where there's a will, there's a way."  I've discovered it's really no big deal to rise a little earlier to either write or grab a few quiet minutes with my coffee, while the world is still sleeping & dawn is just beginning to blush.  The silent solitude of early morn balances my mind and gifts me with a peacefulness that carries me through my busy days as both caregiver & writer.  A little Me Time goes a long way.  

Are you taking time to unwind & rewind your body, mind, & soul?  How do you manage to steal moments for yourself in spite of the insanity of your busy day?  What's your favorite way to unwind?