Sommersgate House by Kristen Ashley

Sommersgate House by Kristen AshleySommersgate House by Kristen Ashley
Series: Ghosts and Reincarnation #2
Published by Self Published on December 7, 2013
Pages: 461 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
five-stars

Douglas Ashton is the cold and unfeeling owner of the gothic Victorian Mansion, Sommersgate House. Julia Fairfax is his stubborn American sister-in-law. After tragedy strikes, Douglas and Julia are forced to live together at Sommersgate and raise their newly orphaned nieces and nephew.

Douglas has no desire to raise his dead sister’s children nor does he want the distraction of the tempting Julia living under his roof. Julia is struggling with grief and trying to make a go in a new country without much help from impossibly handsome but even more impossibly remote Douglas. Not to mention, she has to deal with the active hostility of Douglas’s frosty, Attila-the-Hun-in-a-skirt mother, Monique.

Douglas decides the best way to give the children what they need, get his mother to behave and give himself what he wants is to marry Julia. When he tells her (yes, tells her) she will be his wife, Julia thinks Douglas is (probably) insane. And anyway, she’s decided if she ever has another husband (since the last one wasn’t so great), he was going to be short, balding, have a paunch and worship the ground she walks on (none of these characteristics define Douglas in the slightest).

One more thing, Sommersgate House is haunted by the ghosts of the man who built the house and the woman who was the love of his life. They both died mysteriously at Sommersgate months after it was finished. When they did, a curse settled on the house making it seem strangely alive. And the only way for the beautiful but frightening house to rid itself of this curse is for its owner to find true love.

Why didn’t I first start with Sommersgate House by Kristen Ashley in her Ghost and Reincarnation series?!

With the way I responded to Sommersgate House I truly believe that all things happen in their own time and with their own reason because had I not read Penmort Castle first and somewhat loathed it I wouldn’t have given Sommersgate House a chance.

While I was reading Sommersgate House I seriously dwindled away into a pile of goo. This story held everything I love in a contemporary romance story, especially a story of Kristen Ashley’s caliber. There was a broody hero, little babies that needed love, a strong-minded heroine, a mystery that kept me intrigued, a villain that I loved to hate, and a romance that was absolutely timeless. Ugh, I’m getting excited all over again, this book was so good!!!!

When I asked Kristen Ashley which order I should go in when going through her Ghosts and Reincarnation series, since Goodreads had a particular order, she let me know that I should follow her order for this series instead of Goodreads lol. I sort of feel cheated because Goodreads and Amazon stated that Penmort Castle is the first in the series so that’s why I read that first, but in reading Sommersgate House so many things now make sense that I was confused about in Penmort Castle.

Sommersgate House was an amazing start to Ashley’s Ghost and Reincarnation series, it introduced the premise of the series in a way that now if I were to read the synopsis of the other stories in this series I would at least know what the end goal would be for each couple. Ugh, I have a feeling that I’ll have a new favorite series by Ashley, I’m seriously contemplating vetoing the ranking system I have for her series because it’s starting to feel redundant.

About Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but 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 multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

Reaper’s Fire by Joanna Wylde

Reaper’s Fire by Joanna WyldeReaper's Fire by Joanna Wylde
Series: Reapers MC #6
Published by Berkley on August 9, 2016
Pages: 381 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Library
Goodreads
four-stars

The club comes first.

I’ve lived by those words my whole life—assumed I’d die by them, too, and I never had a problem with that. My Reaper brothers took my back and I took theirs and it was enough. Then I met her. Tinker Garrett. She’s beautiful, she’s loyal, and she works so damned hard it scares me sometimes . . . She deserves a good man—one better than me. I can’t take her yet because the club still needs me. There’s another woman, another job, another fight just ahead.

Now she’ll learn I’ve been lying to her all along. None of it’s real. Not my name, not my job, not even the clothes I wear. She thinks I’m nice. She pretends we’re just friends, that I’ve still got a soul . . . Mine’s been dead for years. Now I’m on fire for this woman, and a man can only burn for so long before he destroys everything around him.

I’m coming for you, Tinker.

Soon.

Seeing as I couldn’t remember which story I left off with Joanna Wylde’s MC series I sort of had to dive into Reaper’s Fire without any guides and helpers. Also, at the time I began Reaper’s Fire I was attempting to do a series re-read but stopped when it came to Liam’s story (I wasn’t a huge fan of the heroine) so the taste I had for this series sort of died down.

Reaper’s Fire was unexpectedly good. I couldn’t remember who Gage was but it felt good to get his story along with the other well-known brothers of the Reapers. It was the heroine and her story that really sold this installment in Wylde’s Reapers MC series for me because I didn’t really know Gage and I wasn’t liking what was being revealed of his character from the beginning of Reaper’s Fire.

Tinker Garrett’s character was very attractive and added substance to Reaper’s Fire, but when it came to her relationship with Gage I really felt that her character suffered. Since she was supposed to end up with Gage her reactions and responses didn’t seem genuine. For example, when it was known that no matter how Gage might’ve expressed his attraction to Tinker he continually went back to his girlfriend, whether he was just biding his time to finish his assignment or not, Tinker should’ve left him the heck alone but because she was supposed to end up with Gage there was a lot of forgiving and tolerant behavior being shown. I would’ve enjoyed Gage and Tinker’s dance if maybe there more time for both Tinker to grow and Gage to get clear of his less than stellar entanglements with the club that was stealing from the Reapers.

I loved the imagery of Reaper’s Fire, which shocked me because any type of imagery usually isn’t my cup of tea. I loved the descriptions and visual settings Wylde described because the scenery looked beautiful in my minds eye. I’ve never been to Idaho, and I hate to admit that I constantly forget that there are states between Washington and Colorado; all of the stories I’ve read that focused on either Washington state or Colorado helps with my forgetfulness. Because of Reaper’s Fire though, I want to visit Idaho, it sounds absolutely beautiful.

About Joanna Wylde

Joanna Wylde started her writing career in journalism, working in two daily newspapers as both a reporter and editor. Her career has included many different jobs, from managing a homeless shelter to running her own freelance writing business, where she took on projects ranging from fundraising to ghostwriting for academics. During 2012 she got her first Kindle reader as a gift and discovered the indie writing revolution taking place online. Not long afterward she started cutting back her client list to work on Reaper’s Property, her breakout book. It was published in January 2013, marking the beginning of a new career writing fiction.

Joanna lives in the mountains of northern Idaho with her family.

Jagged by Kristen Ashley

Jagged by Kristen AshleyJagged by Kristen Ashley
Series: Colorado Mountain #5
Published by Forever on November 5, 2013
Pages: 389 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
five-stars

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.

I believe that Jagged by Kristen Ashley is the most underrated story in her Colorado Mountain series! Seriously, Jagged might not have had the mystery and suspense that seemed to be embedded in the make up of the previous stories in Ashley’s Colorado Mountain series, but the authentic angst and once in a lifetime love between Ham and Zara is classic Kristen Ashley.

What Ashley did for Jagged‘s story was tie it into the first story in her ‘Burg series, which I thought was pretty cool because unbeknownst to me at the time I was hoping that Ham would get his own HEA when I finished For You because I thought that he got the worse end of the deal out of all of February’s suitors. But I’m glad that his story ended up with way it did, I don’t think that I could’ve survived reading about him starting fresh with someone else when he had someone like Zara waiting for him back home.

I find myself trying to find a starting place on how to speak on the story of Jagged that doesn’t give anything vital away but still gives you all a sense of how beautiful its story is…I don’t want to just tell y’all to read it because you might not, you’ll probably read this review and think I’m blowing smoke up your butt.

I will say that Jagged is a definite second-chance love story, and I never thought that I would be a fan of that type of story because in the past they just haven’t been my cup of tea. And while the stories I’ve read in the past that have been second-chance love stories were about adults, there was still an immature tone to the entirety of their story that was absent in Jagged. The struggles that Ham and Zara went through and battled together resonated with the adult in me, they spoke of real life situations and real life solutions. I didn’t feel as if I was reading a purely fictional story with fantastical aspects, but about two characters who really had a rough go at things and remained mature about their mess ups and decisions.

Jagged was a very competent story with competent characters. I wouldn’t trade a thing about this story because everything that happened felt real and timely.

About Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but 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 multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

Breathe by Kristen Ashley

Breathe by Kristen AshleyBreathe by Kristen Ashley
Series: Colorado Mountain #4
Published by Forever on December 11, 2012
Pages: 649 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
five-stars

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...

During the Colorado Mountain series re-read I was hesitant to dive into Breathe because I had somehow convinced myself that I didn’t like this installment as much as its predecessors. So color me confused when as I was reading Breathe that I found myself devouring its entirety as if I had never read it before; this is really starting to become a trend with Ashley’s stories. I don’t know what I was thinking but other than Kaleidoscope, which is the story I’m dreading re-reading, I have loved every story within the Colorado Mountain series.

The hero in Breathe had seriously been through the ringer, if you don’t know what I’m talking about read Lady Luck and prepare to have your stomach turn and eyes bug out. I really felt sympathy for him because of the road that he would have to travel in order to get clean of the muck he was carrying around. But what made his story in Breathe even harder was his view of himself as being unworthy of someone like Faith Goodknight, who had loved him since he first came to Carnal. Immediately from the beginning we’re introduced to just how jacked up his thought process is and the tangled webs he’s wrapped up in.

Faith’s character on the other hand surprised me. She’s so different from the other heroines that Ashley placed within this particular series because I identified more with of her character attributes. She embodied everything that the hero didn’t know that he needed, heck that I didn’t even know that he needed, and I’m usually a good predictor towards certain character types and storylines. She was soft when she needed to be and firm when the situation or pigheaded statements from the hero called for it.

What sucked about Breathe was that the craziness from Lady Luck didn’t die with that installment. The aftermath was practically worse in certain aspects than what happened to Ty and Lexi, not trying to compare woes because each hero had to battle some jacked-up-ness.

Next up is Jagged, and what all I can really remember about it’s story was that it was sort of a breath or fresh air after the previous stories in this series. I also remember that it connects to Ashley’s ‘Burg series which I thought was freaking cool.

About Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but 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 multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

The Devil’s Cut by J.R. Ward

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Devil’s Cut by J.R. WardDevil's Cut by J.R. Ward
Series: The Bourbon Kings #3
Published by Ballantine on August 1. 2017
Pages: 397 pages
Format: Hardback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars

At first, the death of William Baldwine, the head of the Bradford family, was ruled a suicide. But then his eldest son and sworn enemy, Edward, came forward and confessed to what was, in fact, a murder. Now in police custody, Edward mourns not the disintegration of his family or his loss of freedom . . . but the woman he left behind. His love, Sutton Smythe, is the only person he has ever truly cared about, but as she is the CEO of the Bradford Bourbon Company’s biggest competitor, any relationship between them is impossible. And then there’s the reality of the jail time that Edward is facing.

Lane Baldwine was supposed to remain in his role of playboy, forever in his big brother Edward’s shadow. Instead he has become the new head of the family and the company. Convinced that Edward is covering for someone else, Lane and his true love, Lizzie King, go on the trail of a killer—only to discover a secret that is as devastating as it is game-changing.

As Lane rushes to discover the truth, and Sutton finds herself irresistibly drawn to Edward in spite of his circumstances, the lives of everyone at Easterly will never be the same again. For some, this is good; for others, it could be a tragedy beyond imagining. Only one thing’s for certain: Love survives all things. Even murder.

As much as I was anticipating The Devil’s Cut I have to admit that I wasn’t as blown away by it as I was towards the first two installments in J.R. Ward’s Bourbon King series. In actuality my feeling towards this installment had nothing to do with Edward ending up with Sutton instead of Shelby, it was actually the length in which everything was carried out.

From The Bourbon Kings to The Angels’ Share things have been building up to what I had hoped would’ve been an explosive conclusion to a wholly unique and attention grabbing series. What I wasn’t expecting was the long periods of each of the main characters lives. Other than the big reveal of who actually killed papa Baldwine and the mystery surrounding Edward I felt like we were given more of the same.

Now this is where things get tricky…everything I just said are my true feelings and what I’m gettting ready to impart to you all are also my true feelings.

I loved everything about The Devil’s Cut. I loved that even though Lane and Lizzie’s relationship is pretty much solidified, Ward threw in a few surprises that sort left you on the edge of whether not things might not be as good as they seem between these two. I also loved how Edward and Sutton’s relationship was fleshed out more than I felt the previous installments allowed, I was able to getting a better sense of them as a couple than them just going through the motions because of the intensity of old feelings.

Crazy enough it was the sister’s story that really pulled me in. I have never seen a character grow and develop for the better as great as this I think in all my years of reading. My gosh, when I was so sure that I couldn’t stand her character Ward penned the circumstances she went through perfectly that ripped the foundation from under her feet leaving her open for improvement and change. Matter of fact I think the other character that this has happened to for me was Franka from Kristen Ashley’s Fantasyland series. I love a good turn around.

As conflicting as my thoughts are about The Devil’s Cut, it definitely did its job when it came to concluding this series. No stone was unturned, although maybe a few should’ve been left to the skeletons, and no heart was left completely unbroken.

About J.R. Ward

J.R. Ward is a #1 New York Times and USAToday Best Selling author of erotic paranormal romance. She lives in the south with her incredibly supportive husband and her beloved golden retriever. After graduating from law school, she began working in healthcare in Boston and spent many years as Chief of Staff of one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation. Writing has always been her passion and her idea of heaven is a whole day of nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot.