by Kiersten Hallie Krum
Every so often, you stumble onto a new author and feel the need to tell everyone in your contacts list, or your Facebook feed, or your Twitter timeline, or all of them together to go out and read that author tout freaking suite. The reverse is also true, that being when a dire warning is instead deeply required.
Well, let me warn you now not to start reading Kristen Ashley’s racy contemporary romance novels and especially not her (relatively) new racy bad boy biker Chaos series and here’s why:
Do not read Kristen Ashley if you like sleep. Because you won’t get any. No, really.
Do not read Kristen Ashley books if you aren’t prepared to stay up until 4 AM wondering when the hell the damn book is gonna end because you need to sleep and then not caring because the need to finish it outweighs all other considerations like the fact that you have to get up in three hours and capably perform your freaking job that you’re now seriously considering quitting because it means you won’t be able to continue reading Kristen Ashley books for about 8 to 10 hours.
Do not read Kristen Ashley’s books if you have “just one more chapter” disease or its symptomatic brethren, “just one more page” syndrome, which are both a short trip to the dreaded “Dead Reader Walking” epidemic. That sucker spreads like damn and wow with the speed of a “buy with 1-click” button. I hate that button. I need that button. But I hate that button.
Do not read Kristen Ashley’s books if you like articles like “a”, “and”, “the”, “but”, etc. because if you read enough of her books, say in a no-end-yet-in-sight reading binge, you’ll conclude that such grammatical staples are redundant and unnecessary and really just impede getting to the heart of the matter. Or the sentence. Or the smokin’ hot sex scene. Or the bad ass rescue. Or the heart to heart “chat”.
Do not read Kristen Ashley’s books if you have a sponge-like mind that soaks in what you read (if you read enough of it) and you’re not prepared to have the vocabulary of your inner monologue augmented by phrases like “do ya feel me?” or “do you get me?” or “I laid that out for you” and “I need to confirm you’re hearing me”. Do not read her books unless you’re prepared to realize that “fuckuva lot” is a phrase that suddenly seems inordinately appropriate to all too many situations in your life. Do not read her books if you’re not prepared for “advice” “gratitude” and “marker” to be blunt renditions of their respective meanings, kinda like the dialogue in the four or five episodes of Spartacus you got through before concluding that watching John Hannah, Lucy Lawless, and Jamie Murray, each of whom you really like individually, have a very explicit (if [hopefully] faked) threesome was not something you were keen to keep in your memory banks.
But I digress.
Do not read Kristen Ashley’s books if you like the friends-to-lovers trope or the lovers-who-didn’t-work-then-come-back-20-years-later-still-in-love-with-one-another trope or the girl-who-falls-for-older-guy-when-she’s-too-young-is-now-grown-up-and-he’s-into-her-too trope or good-girl-who-tames-wild-man trope or the family-is-where-you-make-it trope-o-topia. Don’t read her books if you don’t like a huge cast of characters that occasionally require a re-read here and there to remember who fits where. Ditto big, complicated families with serious drama that just makes everything that much more juicy.
Do not read Kristen Ashley’s Chaos series books if riding on a Harley Davidson motorcycle is absolutely anywhere on your bucket list. And really, do not read Kristen Ashley’s Chaos series if you have, or ever have had, a bad-boy-biker-with-an-inner-emo-core jones because that bad-boy-biker-with-an-inner-emo-core jones will freak the fuck out. Trust me on this. Do not read her books if that jones includes alpha commandos or alpha cops or alpha DEA agents all of whom have secrets and damage and nearly unbelievably big hearts and incongruous soft sides brought out by fashion-forward, independent, damaged, possibly stuck in their own heads, immersed in BFD drama and momentarily overwhelmed by the sudden insertions of said hot alphas in that drama until they get themselves together and figure their shit out, honest-to-God self-rescuing heroines.
Say that ten times fast.
Do not read Kristen Ashley’s books if you are a series slut, because you will quickly find yourself seeped in the reader equivalent of lying back and happily taking it over and over again because there are a fuckuva lot of her books and one way or another, they spread into each other so that, for a “random” example, you could find yourself reading Own the Wind and wondering about Tack and Tyra’s story while you’re reading about their kid and her bad boy, and then you realize Tack and Tyra’s story is in Motorcycle Man and say, that’s the fourth book of another series whose characters’ names are now familiar because they keep showing up and hey, maybe just take a peak and see how that book folds out, and fuck me it’s 4 AM. Again.
Do ya feel me?
In one week (okay, maybe 10 days) I’ve read eight Kristen Ashley books, (four of them twice), including all of the Dream Man series and all of the (as yet available) Chaos novels. Thirty minutes ago, I gasped aloud to see that the next Chaos book, Walk Through Fire, is now available on NetGalley (which is how I got in this “no sleep” hot mess in the first place). And yeah, when you read ’em that fast and back-to-back-to-back, you start to see some similarities carrying through, phrases and descriptions and whatnot, but that’s called “voice”, y’all, and it’s what keeps us reading the Krentzs and the Banks and the Crusies and the Phillips and the Roberts of Romancelandia, and boy, howdy, will it keep you reading Kristen Ashley.
Just don’t say you were never warned.
Follow Lady Smut. Don’t bother with our warning label. They’re more like guidelines anyway.