Lacybourne Manor by Kristen Ashley

Lacybourne Manor by Kristen AshleyLacybourne Manor by Kristen Ashley
Published by Self Published on August 5, 2011
Pages: 543 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
four-stars

In 1522, the very night they were wed, Royce Morgan and his new bride, Beatrice Godwin, were murdered on their way home to Lacybourne Manor. After the cruel deed was done, a local witch came across their bodies, witnessing firsthand the tragedy of star-crossed lovers. Vowing that Royce and Beatrice would someday uncross those stars, using magic mixed with murder as well as true love, she linked their spirits together with hers (because someone had to protect them) forever… or until their reincarnated souls find happily ever after.

Now arrogant, forbidding Colin Morgan lives at Lacybourne, knowing, from lore (as well as the portraits of Royce and Beatrice that hang in Lacybourne’s hall and the small fact that he looks exactly like Royce Morgan), that he is the reincarnated soul of his ancestor. One stormy night, flighty, free-spirited, scarily kind-hearted Sibyl Godwin comes to Lacybourne and it doesn’t escape Colin’s notice that Sibyl is the spitting image of Beatrice. However murder, magic, a warrior’s heart beating in a modern man’s chest, a woman bent on doing good deeds even if they get her into loads of trouble, a good witch whose family has vowed throughout the centuries to protect true love, distrust and revenge make a volatile cocktail.

This means the path to happily ever after is paved with tranquiliser darts, pensioners on a rampage, Sibyl’s bad morning moods, heartbreaking misunderstandings and all kinds of magic, good… and bad.

The drama that could be read from Lacybourne Manor by Kristen Ashley’s synopsis had me hooked….immediately. With the way that Kristen Ashley pens her stories I knew to expect some serious anger towards one or both of the main characters and their possible pigheadedness, but I would ultimately fall in love with everything Lacybourne Manor had to offer.

Colin and Sybil were equally delightful to read about, I couldn’t have asked for a better hero and heroine for Lacybourne Manor. The way things began and then worked itself out in the end was truly magical and in no way predictable. I was really expecting to loath finishing this story because of a situation that took place within its pages that I felt soured the story for me only to have to bow down to the greatest of Ashley’s pen because she blew my mind once again with how she orchestrated this sticky situation fabulously.

The mystery, and going back and forth between the past and present and sometimes a place in-between was superbly done. I loved the glimpses of the original ancestors of Colin and Sybil, Royce and Beatrice, that we were able to see, both in contrast and in clarity to Royce and Beatrice’s situation and Colin and Sybil’s. The other thing I loved about Lacybourne Manor was the fact that there was a senior citizen facility filled with some amazing elderly characters that added so much life and balance to this story.

Now that I’ve read the first two stories in Ashley’s Ghost and Reincarnation series I feel so much better about going into Penmort Castle, and I feel like I’ve gotten a better sense of the series. Lacybourne Manor simply was amazing.

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.

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.

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.

Reaper’s Legacy by Joanna Wylde

Reaper’s Legacy by Joanna WyldeReaper's Legacy by Joanna Wylde
Series: Reapers MC #2
Published by Berkley on January 28, 2014
Pages: 368 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Eight years ago, Sophie gave her heart-and her virginity-to Zach Barrett on a night that couldn't have been less romantic or more embarrassing. Zach's step-brother, a steely-muscled, tattooed biker named Ruger, caught them in the act, getting a peep show of Sophie he's never forgotten.

She may have lost her dignity that fateful night, but Sophie also gained something precious-her son Noah. Unfortunately, Zach's a deadbeat dad, leaving Ruger to be Noah's only male role model. When he discovers Sophie and his nephew living in near poverty, Ruger takes matters into his own hands-with the help of the Reapers Motorcycle Club-to give them a better life.

Living with outlaw bikers wasn't Sophie's plan for her son, but Ruger isn't giving her a choice. He'll be there for Noah, whether she wants him or not. But Sophie does want him, has always wanted him. Now she'll learn that taking a biker to bed can get a girl dirty in every way.

I can’t believe that I loved Reaper’s Legacy more than Reaper’s Property when I first read them. If it wasn’t Sophie getting on my nerves, then it was the cat and mouse game that Ruger and Sophie played with each other. I must need my head checked out because despite these irritants I really ended up loving the overall story of Reaper’s Legacy.

Immediately, as Reaper’s Legacy began you are hip to the tension and agitation that both Ruger and Sophie have for each other, but underneath all of that is the sexual tension that is the timeless pull between these two. I adored the fact that there was a kid mixed in with this story simply because it brings about an entirely new level to all characters involved, if that makes sense. I loved how both Sophie and Ruger loved Noah and the lengths they were willing to go to to make sure that he was well taken care of, even if that meant they had to pull the others head out of their butt to make it happen.

Since y’all already know my feelings towards Sophie, which really didn’t change until close to the end of Reaper’s Legacy, I want to talk about Ruger a little since he’s been such a star player in these first two installments of Joanna Wylde’s Reapers MC series.

For the first time in my literary life, it wasn’t Ruger’s physical appearance that attracted me to his character. If anything it was the way he carried himself and the knowledge he kept dropping all over the pages of Reaper’s Legacy that made him an instant favorite (sort of like Knight from KA’s Unfinished Heroes series). While he wasn’t perfect, he was the catalyst that helped Sophie pretty much move on from that immature teen mom to the woman that I felt was worthy of someone like Ruger.

Usually when a hero is dealt a crappy hand, the scars have a way of making them into the men we read about, but I don’t fully believe that was the case for Ruger simply because he never saw his past as a hindrance. In his opinion he had no scars to speak of nor any hang ups to combat, and for the first time ever I can honestly say that he didn’t. He really took things in stride and other than the regrets he had when it cane to Sophie he loved life and all that came with it.

Gah! I love Ruger’s character for more than what went on in Reaper’s Legacy and Reaper’s Property, he’s just a special literary individual that I’ll always remember.

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.