Kristen Ashley – The Best Kept Secret in Romance?

own_the_wind Have you read Kristen Ashley? Have you even heard of Kristen Ashley? As the romance world has been buzzing on about other authors, Kristen has been in the background furiously writing book after book and self-publishing them on Smashwords. A search of her name will bring up multiple review sites where she has thousands of comments and reviews and her work has been widely described in the online romance community as “cracktastic” and “crackalicious” – yet, if you ask around offline you’ll find that your acquaintances have never heard of her. This has been going on for years, but may finally change now Kristen has been picked up by Grand Central Publishing. The highly anticipated (by her fans) first book from that pairing, Own the Wind-Book One of the Chaos series, was released Monday night.

The reason for the low name-recognition outside the online romance community may be in due in part to the fact that the author is somewhat of an enigma. One would think that with, by my count, thirty-seven works in her backlist, there would be a bibliography published somewhere with titles and release dates. For purposes of this blog, I looked everywhere and couldn’t find one. It is also almost impossible to ascertain when her first book was released. I believe it was Rock Chick in December 2008, but if you look online it also says that book was published in 2011 and in 2013. If you go by publication date the data says that in 2011 Kristen published seventeen books – seventeen! The best information I could find was a list on the author’s website which gives the best order in which to read her books to get the whole “Kristen Ashley experience”.

Also, not everyone enjoys her books. I asked for a quick show of hands online to find out who I know that had read her books and I received only three ayes, one of which included a included a “dnf”. There is a definite love/hate feel to her book reviews. For every 4.5 star average on a site like Goodreads, there are a huge number of 4 and 5 star reviews but also some 0-1 star reviews with few falling between. Most of the negative reviews cite two issues, one being writing issues of grammar and sentence construction, the other being the fact that her heroes can be real dicks. The first problem I understand is going to be resolved as her books are going to be cleaned up, edited and republished, some in paperback. If you find you can’t finish a book in which the author writes things like “full proof” for foolproof or “a quarter passed five” when relating the time, maybe you’ll be able to give her books another try when this occurs. The second, well, if arrogant heroes aren’t your bag, this will never be resolved.

What kind of books does she write in which its OK for the heroes to be dicks? The answer is a complex mixture of humorous, thrilling, and erotic books with lots of action that still manage to be tender and wildly romantic in places. Her books tend to be huge, several with 500 pages or more, and surprising in the attention to detail. Even the smallest conflicts are resolved before the end, and they often have excellent epilogues. The love scenes are hot and inventive, and the heroes always demanding and bossy in bed. All genres but historical are represented, with the bulk being contemporary romance. If you like fantasy, the Fantasyland series is a favorite, in which the heroines travel to a parallel universe. Golden Dynasty is the best of that lot, but watch out, it’s brutal as well as beguiling, with a rape scene at the beginning (not in too much detail). If you like crime drama, the Colorado Mountain series has a serial killer, more mundane murders and a kidnapping, with a man wrongfully accused and sent to prison. Lady Luck is the best book from that series, and one of the best romances I’ve ever read. I won’t go into all that happens in the Rock Chick series, but someone is constantly car bombed, shot at, kidnapped and then rescued by their gorgeous, uber-masculine, and yes, arrogant hero.

One good example of such arrogance is Kane “Tack” Allen from Motorcycle Man, the president of the Chaos Motorcycle Club (and incidentally the father of the heroine in Own the Wind). The heroine, Tyra, attends a club party the weekend before beginning her new job as Tack’s business manager. At the party she meets Tack, falls madly, completely in love and ends up in bed with him. After he’s done with her, he kicks her to the curb and tells her to leave her number on the nightstand so they can “play again some other time”. Tyra’s humiliated but shows up at work that Monday only to have Tack try to fire her because he doesn’t screw the help, but warns her not to forget to leave her number this time because he might call when he wants back in her bed. Tyra refuses to be fired and refuses to further their personal relationship, Tack decides he wants her after all, and fireworks ensue. A couple of memorable quotes -

Tack:”That first night, I didn’t have it all. And I still don’t have it all but every piece you give me, baby, I like. So now I want it all and I’m gonna fuckin’ get it, Tyra. You aren’t gonna hold back, you aren’t gonna retreat, you aren’t gonna push me away and I sure as fuck am not gonna let go.”

Tack: “Babe, advice. A man expresses his gratitude, you do not throw attitude. You kiss him and, maybe, suck his dick to show your appreciation.”

and then much later -

“And into the darkness, to his sleeping woman, he whispered, “You don’t know this, baby, but some men have dream women too.”

If you want a low risk investment in which to try Kristen Ashley, I suggest Sommersgate House, which is only $1.99 right now. Its a contemporary about an American woman who emigrates to England to care for her deceased brother’s three lonely children. She has joint custody of them with her brother-in-law, whose sister also died with the heroine’s brother. The terms of the will require that they all live together in Sommersgate house, a big old, cold and haunted mausoleum. The heroine contends with ghosts, the hero’s horrible mother, three messed-up children, the gossip rags, starting life over in a new country, and yes, the arrogant, beautiful, wealthy hero and the fallout from his spying.

– Wendy Clyde

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54 Responses to “Kristen Ashley – The Best Kept Secret in Romance?”

  1. Desi says:

    I read three Kristen Ashley books after reading rave reviews. Meh. She can write seventeen books in a year because, if the three I read are a good sample, she writes basically the same book each time and just changes the characters’ names and a few details. Also, the typos really got to me. It was as if she dictated these into a software program and then didn’t bother to go back and edit. As you note, a publisher will correct that.

    There was an interesting dichotomy, though, in each of the books I read. The heroes/heroines were older, in mid to late thirties to early forties, and they were responsible parents, employers/employees, home owners, adult children, etc. The dialogue was written as though they were late teens. It constantly grabbed me and pulled me out of the story because it was out of sync with the rest of their lives. At any rate, the first book was an enjoyable enough read although nothing special. The next two just felt like do overs. I think she’s been way overrated as an author.

  2. Tee says:

    No, I’ve never heard of her. But if some of the dialog you posted above is indicative of the kind she writes for her heroes, I will probably go on living not knowing her books! :)

  3. JoJo says:

    Like you said, KA seems to be a love or hate author. And I LOVE her. An author can have the best grammar but not be able to tell a story. KA can tell a story. Her ebooks are only 3.99 and I would say Sommersgate House is not the best to sample her work. Instead I would suggest any of the following: Lady Luck, Sweet Dreams or At Peace. Motorcycle Man is much more than the quotes listed here and I would suggest that book as well. KA hero’s may be alpha but they are not “dicks”. They are loving, protective and…hot! And KA writes the best epilogues ever!

    • May says:

      The crack that is KA got me hooked, too. That is all I can say.

      • Ivy says:

        Yep. She has a formula, but when it’s working, it hooks you. It’s all in the little details that differentiate the alpha heroes. Personally, I love it.

    • KathyB says:

      I love her, too, JoJo. I’ve read grammatically correct books that bored me to tears so I can overlook some of that if the story keeps my interest. I agree with your recommendations, also. I would add recommend “Breathe” and “Heaven and Hell”. There were a lot of not so good reviews of “Knight” (the Unfinished Heroes series #1), so I was a bit hesitant to read it. It turned out to be one of my favorite KA books. Ditto on what you said about “Motorcycle Man”. :-)

  4. Lisa says:

    I read my first Kristen Ashley book just a few months ago. I then completely devoured her entire backlist on the a-book-a-day carousel, reading into the wee hours of the morning before dragging myself out of bed for work. I absolutely love, love, love them all! I love her anti-hero super-alpha protective men, and the women they love. There’s a lot of fierce and unabiding lovin’, even if it takes years to get to the HEA. In life, there aren’t always easy answers, and KA goes places in her relationships that I don’t come across too often in a fictional work. Her characters have messy, complicated lives, but are fiercely loyal and family always comes first. I don’t care about the typos, and when I’m reading my mind glosses over them because I find her stories that compelling. These fictional characters are not people that I know or associate with in day-to-day life, but they are interesting and her complex charaterizations make KA a really great story teller. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I, for one, am so glad that I stumbled across her works.

  5. Stephanie says:

    I LOVE Kristen Ashley. I heard about her on book blogs likes this one, with reviewers who had read a considerable portion of her backlist. I readily enjoy the formula of alpha male, sometimes sassy heroine in distress. I have read many in her long list of books. In the past year, she is now my most purchased author (as I look on my Kindle!). All are reasonably priced, and I can by 2-3 of her books (which for the most part are deliciously lengthy) for 1 of some of the more recent big releases. I reread many of them. Some series are more interesting to me than others, but I have dipped into them all, if not purchased the entire series from each genre. But they are all romances – and all very satisfying romances, where the romance really is the focus. Some are more steamy than others. To start, I recommend Motorcycle Man (Tack!), Breathe (to get an idea of that series), and Sweet Dreams (Tate!). Just terrific. I have absolutely no problems with any of the self published book formats, grammar, anything – just read to enjoy.

  6. Christine says:

    I just read Motorcycle Man this weekend after the crazy amount of word of mouth, blog talk etc. I downloaded the first few chapters for free and I had read enough about it so I knew what I was getting into. I can say honestly that if there wasn’t such a buzz about it and so many people hadn’t said how “cracktastic” it was I wouldn’t have gotten past the first couple of chapters. I hate overly arrogant, jerky heroes- I love Linda Howard but I cannot read “After The Night” I want to jump up and down on the book because the “hero” is so awful to the 14 year old heroine at the beginning. Tack is a huge jerk in MM- particularly in the beginning- but I held on to see how Kristin Ashley was going to “redeem” him. The answer was- not completely. He is shown as a loving father, brutally honest, and when in a relationship- totally monogamous and committed to his “woman.” He is also rude, arrogant, crude and engaged in things outside the law (vigilantism mostly). The language in the books are raw, raw, raw- I can’t think of a taboo word or swear that isn’t used either in conversation or during the sex scenes. A lot. If that kind of language offends you these books are NOT for you. That being said, I think it’s probably entirely accurate. She is writing about a very tough, uber masculine biker gang. These guys don’t say “darn” a lot. She also makes it very clear that if you want to be one a member’s “woman” you are going to have to put up with a lot, basically be a second hand citizen to the club and know you always have to back “your man.” It works in the book because Tyra the heroine wants Tack and wants the life. She gets pretty feisty at times and manages to stand up to Tack on a lot of things but the bottom line is he is definitely the boss on most of the big things but Tyra is OK with it. Ashley’s writing is not the most sophisticated- she is not a lyrical wordsmith like Joanna Bourne or Meredith Duran but she is not writing those kinds of books. Her books are visceral, frequently ungrammatical and raw. I do appreciate that she writes about “everyday” people (when they are not mercenaries, etc.) such as a mattress saleswoman and an office manager and the heroes and heroines often run in the 35-41 year old range which is a refreshing change. I’d say if you enjoy a rougher, modern romance and “bad” language and hyper “masculine” over the top heroes don’t offend you download for free the first several chapters from any of Ashley’s books from her website. That more than anything will tell you if her work is “for you” at no monetary risk.

  7. BJW says:

    My favorite author. I’ve read everything except the Rock Chick series, which seems too much like Stephanie Plum.

    • JoJo says:

      BJW the Rock Chick series is great fun! I would not compare to Stephanie Plum.

    • Ivy says:

      I agree with JoJo – I actually enjoyed this series alot and at most, it’s like Stephanie Plum with the humor but the stories are better IMO.

      • Lisa says:

        I think that the Rock Chick series surpasses Stephanie Plum. I love Stephanie, but she comes across as juvenile compared to the Rock Chicks. You should definitely give them a try.

    • Nikki H says:

      I don’t think it’s like Stephanie Plum. I loved Rock Chicks and I zipped right through the whole thing. If you liked the Dream Man series and the Colorado Mountain Series, trust me, you will love the Rock Chicks.

  8. Carrie says:

    Kristen Ashley a secret? Are you kidding? Her name and books are on every review site out there . To paraphrase an old saying goes, You can’t swing a virtual cat on the internet without hitting a comment or review about a Kristen Ashley book.

    I haven’t read her books but mostly because I just don’t have time to add another author to my to-read list, especially one with grammar errors and alph-hole males.

    • AAR Lynn says:

      I think it’s true that Kristen Ashley is most definitely NOT a secret to those of us who are active online. However, I agree with Wendy that she’s the perfect example of that divide between the online romance world and the offline. I know some folks who read romance but don’t frequent review sites and while we have some overlap in books, there are authors you hear praised heavily online that don’t have that same recognition offline. My local library is very romance-friendly, but had no idea about the ongoing Kristen Ashley phenomenon until folks who go on blogs and Goodreads starting asking about her.

  9. Jenna says:

    I’ve not ready any of Kristen Ashley’s books, although I’d heard of “Motorcycle Man”. I admit I’m a bit intrigued, but if the grammar and spelling are as bad as I think they are, I’m not sure I can overlook it to enjoy the story. I can handle a type-O here and there. But I really get irked when writers – WRITERS – whose profession in life is to communicate via the written word don’t use proper grammar and spelling. With spell-check, grammar-check and a gazillion on-line resources, there is simply no excuse for it. For me, it’s the equivalent of a doctor not knowing the parts of the human body. It’s basic. Maybe I’ll wait until the publishers have cleaned things up a bit.

    • Angie says:

      Jenna, I’m someone that gets distracted from the story if the spelling/grammar is very bad, but in the 30-something KA books I’ve read it’s never been a problem! I notice an occasional error here and there, but never a huge amount. That said, I do think that many of her books have been cleaned up and re-released in the last several months so it could be that mine are mostly the updated version since I only started reading her about 6 months ago. If you do try her, I highly recommend following her recommended reading order found on her website. The woman is awesome and, most definitely, my favorite author. BY FAR!!!

  10. DallasE says:

    I love Kristen Ashley. I have read all of her contemporaries and am in the middle of Own The Wind. As far as typos go, I have over 1100 books on my Kindle; most of them from the big publishers, and very few of them are without some kind of error. It’s one of my pet peeves about the cost of ebooks.

    Kristen can start out with a hero who is an absolute jerk and redeem him (Joe Callahan in At Peace, Tatum Jackson in Sweet Dreams). She also has some heroes who are just plain sweethearts (Mitch Lawson in Law Man, Mike Haynes in Games of the Heart).

    And as others have said, the prices on her books are very reasonable. If you sign up for her email, she will send you an email with discount codes to be used at Smashwords. She is one of my favorite authors.

  11. JoJo says:

    There are not THAT many grammatical errors in KA’s books! This has gotten so blown out of proportion and not a reason to stay away from her awesome story telling. Most of her e-books are going to be or have been re-edited by her new publisher.

  12. Katie (kat) says:

    The description of Motorcycle Man and the quotes you posted sound horrible. I love alphas too but Tack (sorry, but stupid name) sounds like a real loser. I do like Linda Howard’s After the Night but I don’t think I’ll be picking up one of Kristen Ashley’s books anytime soon.

  13. leslie says:

    It constantly amazes me that people like the sort of sexist stuff written by authors like Kristen Ashley.

    @JoJo: I disagree. KA needs some big guns in the editorial department. Lack of correct spelling, grammer and punctuation is as important as the storytelling and it shows respect for readers to give a damn about the finished novel. I slogged through several of her books because of all the “it’s like crack” statments and it was torture.

    • Angie says:

      I totally agree that grammAr and punctuation is important! Also, her female characters are some of the strongest I’ve read in any books.

  14. Gisele says:

    Well, what I can say, Kristen Ashley is definetely NOT a secret by any means. I’m brazilian and thanks to internet and goodreads I discovered her last year, and I almost read all of her books. I think as she was a self published author and because of the grammar thing, the big review sites won’t pic her books, but the great majority of the review blogs are all over her!
    As I like alphas very much, her heros are not a big deal for me. But what caught me was her stories as a whole. They are funny, romantic, sexy and sometimes very dramatic (just read Breathe, for god’s sake!), you can’t help yourself!! And if big jerks are a problem, well what I can say about Diana Palmer heros?? They’re jerks alright!
    And for those who haven’t read her, give her a chance, I suspect you won’t be disapointed!

  15. Kiwi Romance Reader says:

    I really, really, really love Kristen Ashley. I read Motorcycle Man first and now I have all of her books on my kindle. The grammar issues never bother me because they’re part of the package – in fact, her rambling stream-of-consciousness style makes her books seem real and alive to me. While there are similarities between her characters, to me they also are unique in some way. I love all her books but there are four I absolutely adore and I have read them over and over again. There is just something in each of them that I connect to in a really personal way. She is a fantastic author. I agree with the other fans who’ve posted – give her a try!

  16. Kayne says:

    My favorites are Play It Safe, Games of the Heart, Heaven and Hell, For You, Mystery Man, Breathe, and the first Rock Chick. I like her humor.

    I didn’t care as much for Creed, Raid or Own the Wind. I immensely disliked At Peace because of something the h did.

    Thanks for doing the nice blog on her.

  17. Wendy - AAR says:

    Thanks so much everyone for your comments! I got called in to work today so can’t answer individually, but

    1 – Great suggestion to download free chapters from KA’s website. I was trying to entice people to try her and that’s a more creative idea.

    2 – I disagree with those who said she’s not a secret. She IS, when compared to the mainstream. You can ask anybody in the grocery store check-out line if they’ve heard of Nora Roberts and get a yes, but KA is only known to us who visit online romance sites or have friends who do. KA deserves more recognition, especially when you consider the dreck that gets big buzz.

    3 – I regret that my quotes of Tack’s little conversational tidbits turned some of you off. The blog was written on the fly and I had little time to choose better quotes. Or perhaps you have to read the book to “get it”. Like someone else said, Tack’s intense, irreverent, hilarious, and talks like a sailor. Common among KA’s heroes.

    4 – The writing style isn’t a big deal to me. Its one of those things I notice- then move on. Its not like illiteracy, or lack of education, but more of a hurried type of error. And like someone else said, the storytelling is superlative, so you overlook the errors.

    5 – My next dog’s name is going to be Alexa Anne Berry.

    • Christine says:

      I understand completely the point you made about her not being “mainstream.” Anyone who shops for mass market paperbacks at B&N or peruses used bookstores exclusively has likely never heard of her.

      Her current book was just released as an ebook a day ago but the paper book won’t be out until June I believe. This is the complete opposite of the usual strategy for romance authors and I think shows how computer based her fan base is.

      Outside of the internet I have never heard her name mentioned. On the websites I visit she is a superstar but in the “real world” book markets, Walmart, B&N, Costco etc I don’t believe she factors in much (yet).

      I again, highly recommend downloading the free chapters. She is very generous and gives out the first five or so and it makes a HUGE difference reading the quotes in context. She has a very definite style. “On paper” I never thought I would enjoy Motorcycle Man, especially based on some of the quotes but I absolutely did.

    • Yulie says:

      Wendy, the number of responses here, Ashley’s success and sales all suggest that she is hardly a secret to many in the romance community. The grocery store comparison is irrelevant; most people in the checkout won’t have heard of Loretta Chase or Cindy Gerard, either, and both are very successful writers. Within the romance online community, which is quite large these days, it’s hard to avoid reading about Ashley. Dear Author seemed to be publishing monthly reviews of her books, for instance.

      I am not sure what “dreck that gets big buzz” you’re referring too. Buzz implies such things as blog reviews and word of mouth, is that not what Ashley is getting?

      As for points 3/4: the quotes don’t work for some people for the same reason Ashley’s books don’t work for some readers: it’s a matter of taste and preferences. One reader’s “irreverent and hilarious” is another’s “not funny alpha jerk”. Neither reaction is wrong or right. I’m glad it worked for you.

      Errors may be human and the result of writing quickly – lord knows I make them too, and I don’t write nearly as much as Ashley does – but this is where editors come in. Even the most superlative storytelling won’t persuade me that multiple errors are acceptable. It is possible to tell a good story without such errors. Tammara Webber and Courtney Milan self-publish and they books are meticulously edited and proofed.

  18. Rebecca NZ says:

    You are kidding right?? this is what you call review of someones work?? do you understand the difference of reviewing critically and being critical ?? this has to be the worst and most bias review I have EVER read, and Im not just saying this because Im a KA fan. You have actually done nothing but put your personal views and those of a “few” people that have read her books…did you actually ask anyone that enjoys her books their view or just go with those that agree with you……
    Yes all her characters are a bit ruff around the edges and can be macho dicks – I dont know where you live but guess what men can be dicks, they dont think before they talk and they say stupid things CONSTANTLY. “Prince Charming” is a completely fictional character….psst he DOES not exist, no matter how many fictional stories you read. I would rather read a man that does anything to keep the one he loves safe, by any means and be real (this means saying stupid sexist things) – than one that throws money at them, whisks them away and dances while the birds and forest animal are singing
    Yes her characters are older, and I know ALOT of women in this age bracket and guess what we get older but we still have the DRAMA – and ALOT of women may leave high school/teen years but they still act like they are in it – and guess what thats OK its life.
    I get not everyone will like an author, its a fact of life and it would be boring if we did – but as a reviewer you need to set you personal views aside and get a fully round review, not one that reads like your jealous of an authors success or popularity, even if it is in the background and hard to find – just a question what more do you want than her blog/website/Facebook page…..
    I will not be coming back to this page, or ever recommending it.
    Dont think its KA characters that need to “grow up”

    • Wendy - AAR says:

      Um, did you read even one word of what I wrote?

      • Rebecca NZ says:

        Yea I did, and I can say this is one of the worst reviews Ive read.

        • Wendy - AAR says:

          Well, you got twisted around somewhere. I’m a huge KA fan and I think my “review” (which this is not, btw) reflects that without being …whatever it is you apparently are.

          • Carrie says:

            This is pretty funny because I was sitting here thinking, “Gee, it’s so obvious Wendy really likes Asjhley’s books! If this were a review I’d think it was too biased in favor of the author.” LOL!

            And no, this isn’t a review and I think showing your enthusiasm for the author’s work is great. But Rebecca NZ couldn’t have been reading the same post I read!

            • Wendy - AAR says:

              Thank you Carrie! I read it back again and thought “what am I missing?”

            • Wendy - AAR says:

              Just a side note. I did the one and only review of a KA book, With Everything I Am, here and gave it a C. “Fan” doesn’t automatically = blind to a book’s faults.

          • Jane A says:

            How funny! I was trying to figure out what “review” Rebecca NZ was talking about and then figured out it was your blog post. Hmm, didn’t seem like a review to me. I love KA, BTW, and think your analysis is spot on.

    • Desi says:

      wow — fan girl rant much?

  19. Jane says:

    It’s clear Wendy that you do like KA, so much so that even with the horrible dialogue you quoted I’m tempted to try one of her books. I’ve read about KA elsewhere online but every time I go to check out one of her books on GR I’m turned off by the fangirl behavior. Can’t stand the squeeing reviews with all the flashing pictures and gifs.

    I did find a list of her books with pub dates on the FantasticFiction website:
    http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/a/kristen-ashley/

    • Wendy - AAR says:

      Thank you Jane! I hope you enjoy if you do ever try one.

      • JoJo says:

        Jane, KA also has a list of her books with suggested order of reading on her website (kristenashley.net). The Rock Chick series is a good place to start b/c many of the characters play cameo roles in other series. She also has a facebook page where she responds to readers questions and comments almost daily.

  20. erika says:

    KA is my go to author for real alpha heroes. I love she’s not afraid to make her alpha heroes imperfect- Knight, Golden Dynasty.
    I discovered KA at Amazon. The price was right to give her a try. I haven’t tried her Rock Chick series tho. Don’t like heroines having an other man while the hero is there.

  21. Michele says:

    Thanks so much for spotlighting my new fav author-Kristen Ashley. I discovered her about 2 months ago and I’m coming off the tail end of a 12 book backlist addiction. I’m telling myself-put the Kindle down!

    I agree with everyone else that the typos aren’t a big deal and in a way add to her charm. You read her and you’ll see…

    But this could be because I love myself some over the top Alphas, sassy heroines, romance, hot sex and action, action, action. Also, she’s terrific at secondary characters. In the Rock Chick series theres a whole gaggle of them and I love it. And her books are FUNNY. Love her voice.

    Interesting side note- did you know she’s actually included in a new “made up” genre called Contemporary Crack? Hence the addiction. Check this link out for more info

    http://carinapress.com/blog/2012/10/now-acquiring-contemporary-crack-at-carina-press/
    -Michele

  22. xina says:

    I’ve been on a KA kick for months now, and have enjoyed every minute. I’ve also passed my love on to my good friend (who just started reading romance) and my DIL. I keep downloading other books, but continue to go back to Ashley. I’ve just started the Rock Chicks, and feel I should take a break after reading the series, so here’s hoping I can break away eventually…lol. :)

  23. MEK says:

    I’ve read several of her books and liked them (did not like Knight at all) and can see why she’s popular. Her stories are FUN. I don’t have to take them too seriously. Do these alpha jerks exist in real life and can these relationships really stand the test of time? I don’t know–who cares?!! They are just cool stories. I’m reading Golden Dynasty right now and love it. It’s my favorite so far. I do agree with whomever (above) said her responsible, a bit older characters sometimes talk like they are in their teens and “act out” as well. In real life, I’d be rolling my eyes, BUT its not real life, its Ashleyworld!

    • Xina says:

      I didn’t enjoy Knight either, and in fact, didn’t finish. Knight was my fisrst by this author, so I may go back at some point, and try again. I have to say, that I am really enjoying the Rock Chicks series. I take it that she is somewhat influenced by Evanovich and Steph Plum. I kind of love that.:)

  24. Krystal says:

    I’ve been a KA fan for quite awhile due to the Amazon romance forums. She is so prolific be because she wrote for umpteenth years before she published so she was able to role them out quickly after she edited them. I love her and think her writing style is pretty contemporary. She writes how people talk and think which is often different than the more formalized, classic style. I like it though I see why some may not. I don’t love every book of hers but I like most of them and a couple of them are in my top ten ever list. I’ve been reading romances for 15 years so I’ve pretty much read it all at this point and hit said forums to find new authors since I tapped out long ago. I’m sure with the advent of kindles, if you like sections and the like, KA will be a household name before you know it. Besides, she is like super cool and super approachable to her fans so you could put her in front of a camera in a heartbeat. If you have any questions for her about her publishing history, ask her on facebook. She is always posting and seems to go out of her way to address comments left on her wall. She is incredibly approachable and real and dosent seem to have that third wall around her like someone like Nora Roberts. I highly recommend you try her at least once, the Colorado series being a great place to start. All the books are strong but a few of them are just stellar. Lady Luck is one of my favs too.

  25. pamelia says:

    I started my KA addiction with “Knight” about 18 months ago and after reading it 4 times realized I should dive into the rest of her books. Which I did. Pretty much all of them. She’s my favorite author now –hands down. Nobody else consistently writes books that have me crying actual tears and laughing out loud with just about every book. Even books of hers which don’t quite measure up to my KA Faves list (Faves being: Knight, Sweet Dreams, Lady Luck, Breathe, Golden Dynasty, Law Man, Motorcycle Man, Heaven and Hell, Rock Chick Revenge, Rock Chick Regret) are still better than a lot of the contemporary books professionally published now.
    There are editing issues — i.e. “passed” does not mean “past”, and once in just about every book someone says something that makes you scratch your head, but I think once you’ve got a handle on her voice it’s really easy to ignore the editing problems (believe me, I’m something of the classic Grammar-nazi myself!)
    I just can’t recommend her highly enough.
    For those of you who think her heroes might be too irredeemably asshat-y for your taste, be aware that she writes MEN — and I appreciate the heck out of that. I like a hero who knows who he is. It’s pretty darn sexy. Plus, she excels at redeeming them in the event they do something bone-headed in the beginning of the book (I’m looking at you,Tate and you too, Joe!).
    KA also excels at writing families of all kinds, awesome “older” characters (Tex, Aunt Bette, Hanna’s Great Grandma), fantastic kids (the secondary romance between Fin and Reecie in “Games of the Heart” was 10 kinds of great).
    If you’re on the fence about trying her out, do what so many others have recommended and dive into the sample chapters of one of her books. If you wind up loving her as much as I do, you’ll be thanking us! :)

  26. Nikki H says:

    Kristen Ashley has become my latest favorite author. I read Mystery Man first, about 2 months ago, and loved it. Since then I’ve read 18 of her books and so far there hasn’t been one I didn’t really like. I look forward to getting through the rest of her back list.

  27. pklagrange says:

    Great post. I am a KA crack addict! I agree with all of the criticism, but she is such an amazing storyteller. KA pulls you into the story and the feelings of the characters and I can forgive (if not completely overlook) all of the grammar and spelling errors.

  28. Maria says:

    Hi, I had not been aware of KA although I am a long-time romance reader. This discussion inspired my to check her out, I downloaded three samples via Amazon and read one whole book (from the Fantasyland series).

    After reading the book, my suspicion is that KA is actually a young man with good visual imagination who has successfully broken into the lucrative romance market. The clues: a love of certain words like “shit” and so on which tells me KA is of a generation and social group that uses those words casually all the time; KA’s dicks of heroes who are still forgiven; the interest in motorcycles; the lack of public appearances.

    In any case, it is very clear that KA dictates the novels, probably while jogging around the neighbourhood, and does not bother with editing and proofreading. I find that a bit off-putting and disrespectful to the readers, so probably will not be reading any of the other novels, although there is certainly a strong storytelling talent there.

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