Monday, March 30, 2015

Review: The Colorado Mountain Series by Kristen Ashley

The Colorado Mountain Series takes place in a trinity of fictional Colorado towns situated close to each other, Gnaw Bone, Carnal and Chantelle. This series that will be seven novels follows the stories of seven connected men on their rocky road to second chances.

The Gamble

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.

Sweet Dreams

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.

Lady Luck

Is love in the cards?

Since birth, Lexie Berry has had nothing but bad luck. Orphaned at an early age, she had a rough childhood and a boyfriend who was murdered. Now the beautiful, stylish Lexie is determined to change her luck and her life. But first she's got to make good on a promise: to pick up Ty Walker from prison. One look at the gorgeous ex-convict and Lexie knows she's in trouble-and already thinking about taking a walk on the wild side . . .

For five years, Ty was imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit. Now he wants revenge on the people who framed him. Yet when the high-stakes poker player sees the leggy Lexie, he suddenly has other desires on his mind. Realizing that Ty is innocent, Lexie tries to stop his plan for vengeance and help him become a better man. But as Ty battles his inner demons, dirty cops and criminals plot to take him out. Can he and Lexie find a way to escape the past?


There's nothing like the first time . . .

In Carnal, Colorado, Faye Goodknight is the town's quiet, shy librarian. She may also be Carnal's last remaining virgin. For years, Faye has had a crush on Chace Keaton, but the gorgeous cop has always been unattainable. She's resigned to live contentedly with only her books for company-until Faye suddenly meets Chace alone in the woods . . .

Chace doesn't think he's the good guy everyone believes him to be. He's made a lot of choices he regrets, including denying his feelings for Faye. Through his choices, he's come to believe the pretty librarian is too good for him, but after their time in the woods, Chace realizes that she may be his last chance for redemption. Soon, their long simmering desires grow to a burning passion. Yet always casting a shadow over their happiness is Chace's dark past . . .


An old flame rekindled . . .

Zara Cinders always knew Ham Reece was the one, but he wasn't interested in settling down. When she found someone who was, Ham walked out of her life. Three years later, Zara's lost her business, her marriage, and she's barely getting by in a tiny apartment on the wrong side of the tracks. As soon as Ham hears about Zara's plight, he's on her doorstep offering her a lifeline. Now, it will take every ounce of will power she possesses to resist all that he offers.

Ham was always a traveling man, never one to settle down in one town, with one woman, for more time than absolutely necessary. But Ham's faced his own demons, and he's learned a lot. About himself, and about the life he knows he's meant to live. So when he hears that Zara's having a rough time, he wants to be the one to help. In fact, he wants to do more than that for Zara. A lot more. But first, he must prove to Zara that he's a changed man.


When old friends become new lovers...anything can happen.

Sexy, gifted, and loyal, PI Jacob Decker is a tall, cool drink of perfection who had Emmanuelle Holmes at "hello." His relationship with Emme's best friend kept them apart for years, but things have changed. Now that a case has brought him to Gnaw Bone, Colorado, the road is wide open for Emme and Deck to explore something hotter and deeper than Emme dreamed possible. So why is she sabotaging the best thing that's ever happened to her?

It isn't easy to catch Deck off guard, but Emme does just that when she walks back into his life after nine long years. The curvy brunette had her charms back in the day, but now she's a bona fide knockout . . . and she wants to rekindle their friendship. Deck, however, wants more. Emme's always been the one; she excites Deck's body and mind like no other woman can. But a dark chapter from Emme's past overshadows their future together. Now only Deck can help her turn the page-if she'll let him . . .
~My Review~

I first read The Gamble in January of 2014.  I absolutely loved it, but for some reason never went on to read the other books of the series.  I loved The Gamble so much that I wouldn't be surprised if I read it at least three times since I first bought it.  It was a very long book, but I loved every bit of it.  Nina and Max both had sad pasts, but through Nina's stubbornness and Max's Alpha Male Mountain Man attitude, they were able to work through their pasts and they made the story extremely enjoyable.

At the time that I bought The Gamble, I was into reading series of books.  By Series, I mean book series that included the same characters through 3 or 4 books.  So when I saw that the rest of the series were about different people, I decided that The Gamble was enough for me.  Then, a few weeks back, I decided I needed new material to read.  The Gamble was the only book I had read by Kristen Ashley, and a few of her other books in this Colorado Mountain Series came up in a search result.  So I decided that I needed to read the rest of the series.  I'm also on a kick where I want to read every single book written by each author that I like, so I decided that Kristen Ashley was where I was starting (at least with this series).  It took me quite a while to read all 5 remaining books.  They're all really long books, with The Gamble, Sweet Dreams, Lady Luck, and Breathe all between 650-680 pages long, while Jagged and Kaleidoscope are shorter around 385-405 pages long (shorter, yes, but still long).

There is a ton of detail in all the books and the characters are extremely well developed.  You understand both characters really well, and while you learn things about each of the main characters as you go along, I really felt like I understood them all, and I was constantly rooting for them.  I loved that even though this was a series with different characters in each book, a lot of the characters carried over.  Nina and Max, Lauren and Tate, Lexie and Ty, Faye and Chase, Zara and Ham, and Emme and Jacob (Deck) all show up some way or another in each other's stories, and I love seeing how they are woven in.  The men were all so intense in different aspects.  They are all the epitome of Alpha Male, and I loved seeing how they reacted to different things the girls did, and how their jobs or backgrounds affected the story.  The girls were awesome.  Smart, sassy, sexy, and so lovable.  And because there was so much detail in all of the stories, and a lot of the secondary characters carried over from book to book, I felt like I knew them really well too.  So I also fell in love with Shambles and Sunny, Bubba, Krystal, Jonas, Dominic, Wood, and Jim Billy, and so many more.

If I had to look all of the books and rate them from my most favorite to my least favorite, I wouldn't be able to.  I loved all the books for different reasons.  I do have to say that out of all of them, Jagged was my least favorite.  It seemed to have a bit of a different theme than all the rest, which seemed to follow a similar path.  It was my least favorite - but I still really liked it!  Regardless of which book I liked better than another, all of the books had a great set of characters and great character development.  They all had conflict and resolution.  There is plenty of conflict going on in these books.  There isn't one straight problem that needs to be fixed, but actually a number of issues that all affect each other some way or another and it's always extremely interesting to see them all woven together.  

The stories themselves all have a common theme and seem to follow the same overall structure.  However, none of the characters have the same problem, and none of it feels like something you've read before.  There is steaminess and sexiness to die for in every book, and there were many times where I had to fan myself through some of the scenes!

One of the things I loved was how the title of the book always came up in the actual story.  Nina takes a Gamble with Max.  Lauren has trouble sleeping, Tate wants her to have Sweet Dreams, and he's able to finally help her sleep.  Lexie and Ty have been kicked so many times by Lady Luck, and are finally blessed with good fortune.  Chase always has to remind Faye to breathe, whether it's because she's happy or sad.  Ham's voice was always somehow Jagged to Zara's ears.  And Emme's gift of the Kaleidoscope to Deck is always present, and a huge portion of their relationship.  It makes each story so singular, that I loved trying to figure out how the title of the book was going to be incorporated into the actual story.

I'm so glad that I finally decided to read the rest of the books in this series.  They were really long and it took me a while to get through them all, but it was totally worth it.  I did read on Kristen Ashely's website that she's also planning eventual books for Wood and Deke, so I'm going to remain on the lookout for those books because I would love to read their stories as well.  

I'm also going to put Kristen Ashley on my list of "other books I need to read" and hopefully read her other series.  She is an amazing author and I loved all of her books so far!

The Colorado Mountain Series on Goodreads

The Gamble on Kindle
The Gamble on Nook

Sweet Dreams on Kindle
Sweet Dreams on Nook

Lady Luck on Kindle
Lady Luck on Nook

Breathe on Kindle
Breathe on Nook

Jagged on Kindle
Jagged on Nook

Kaleidoscope on Kindle
Kaleidoscope on Nook

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