Sunday, December 22, 2013


For You (The 'Burg, #1)Series: The 'Burg #1
Genre: Contemporary/Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Kristen Ashley
Publication Date: 3/14/11
Format: ebook
Pages: 493
Source: Purchase
Rating:  5 stars
Lieutenant Alexander Colton and February Owens were high school sweethearts. Everyone in their small town knew from the moment they met they were meant for each other. But something happened and Feb broke Colt’s heart then she turned wild and tragedy struck. Colt meted out revenge against the man who brought Feb low but even though Colt risked it all for her, Feb turned her back on him and left town.

Fifteen years later, Feb comes back to help run the family bar. But there’s so much water under the bridge separating her and Colt everyone knows they’ll never get back together.

Until someone starts hacking up people in Feb’s life. Colt is still Colt and Feb is still Feb so the town watches as Colt goes all out to find the murderer while trying to keep Feb safe.

As the bodies pile up, The Feds move in and a twisting, turning story unravels exposing a very sick man who has claimed numerous victims along the way, Feb and Colt battle their enduring attraction and the beautiful but lost history that weaves them together.

For You was such a good story. Though Kristen Ashley's style is as recognizable as always, the tone and suspense was different, darker and very suspenseful.

For You has a tragic story, about the lost love between Colt and Feb and the painful years that follow. I say lost love, but that's not the case; it is always clear that Colt and Feb have never stopped loving one another. Painful circumstances and manipulations drove them apart over twenty years before, and the years that followed were so painful to read about. My heart ached for Colt and Feb. The moment that broke the two up is not made instantly clear, Feb can't talk about it, and Colt isn't even sure what happened. What made the story so hard to put down was finding out exactly what did happened between them. The reveal was pretty shocking, and very sad. Theirs was a bittersweet story, thankfully heavier on the sweet side in the end.

For You not only had a beautiful love story, but also a suspenseful side as well. Feb's long-time admirer finally went off the rails, and on a murder spree. This aspect to the story was chilling, terrifying, and a real mind f*ck. Ashley did a great job of building and maintaining suspense until the very end.

For You, true to form for Ashley, was an excellent story, full of rich characters and tons of heart. I know I won't forget Colt and Feb anytime soon.

Favorite Quotes:

  They didn't understand, it not being directed at them, what that smile could do. The power of it. It was like every time he smiled he'd opened a chest of treasure and said, "All this is yours."  

  "Okay, is it me, or is anyone else having a problem with deciding whether to have a heart attack or an orgasm?" Meems asked.
  "Orgasm," Jessie said instantly.
  "Yep, same here," Dee put in.
  "Fuck," Al muttered."

  He kissed me, his mouth opening over mine, mine doing the same under his, his tongue spiking inside, his fingers gliding into my hair, fisting. I felt pain in my scalp but it didn't register as I pressed into him, flattening my hands on his chest, caging them between us, caught up in a wordless promise that was the most beautiful gift I'd ever experienced, the most wondrous gift I'd ever been given in my life.

  He'd been right the day before. Twenty-two years of her laughter, her smile, her body, her jewelry on his kitchen counter, he might have gotten used to it and moments like this would have been lost on him. Now he knew that he'd never miss these moments and he'd always feel that beautiful pain because he'd always understand how precious they were.

At Peace (The 'Burg, #2)Series: The 'Burg #2
Genre: Contemporary/Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Kristen Ashley
Publication Date: 4/2/11
Format: ebook
Pages: 568
Source: Purchase
Rating: 5 stars

Violet Winters once had it all but lost it when her husband was murdered by a criminal madman. During a cold winter night Violet has to leave her warm bed to tell her neighbor to turn the music down. And that’s when she meets sinister, scarred, scarily attractive security specialist, Joe Callahan.

She wants to deny it, but Violet can’t beat back the hunger she feels for Joe so she gives in again and again. Feeling it himself, Joe feeds Vi’s hunger, breaking his own rules to keep her in his bed.

Even though Violet had only one man in her life, she’s sure Joe is giving her the signals and Vi decides she’s ready to take a second chance at life and, maybe, love. But Violet doesn’t know the dark secrets in Joe’s past, secrets so soul-wrenching, they’ve drained him dry. With nothing left to give, Joe’s determined to live his life alone and he breaks Violet’s heart.

Crushed by Joe’s betrayal, Violet comes to terms with the fact that, no matter what signals he gave, Joe was not theirs to win. But Violet’s husband’s murderer is obsessed with her and heartbreak again haunts the door of the Winters home. When it does Joe is forced to face the knowledge that he can’t fight Violet’s pull, she’s under his skin and filled him full to bursting.

Joe needs to win her back and put his life on the line to keep Violet safe. But, having had it all once, can Violet endure losing Joe?


After reading For You and gaining a sense for the type of series The 'Burg would be, I went into At Peace unprepared.

Kristen Ashley took two very compelling characters -- Joe Callahan, a badass security expert who burns through the women in the 'burg like cheap paper, a nice enough man, but completely closed off emotionally; and Violet Winters -- a  widowed mother of two teens, trying to rebuild their life in a new town, she's damaged by her husband's tragic murder, but not broken, and created a story that went beyond any of my expectations. I've stated many times that Ashley is the Queen of Characterization, but even for Ashley, the depth that she gave Joe, Vi, her girls, their families, was truly remarkable. And FYI, Joe Callahan is one of KA's ultimate Alpha Men. Vi is one of her very best heroines.

Attempting to justify just how much I loved At Peace is a joke. I cannot do it anywhere near its due. At Peace made me laugh, a lot. It was also extremely sexy. It almost broke me, leading me into several of my most heart-wrenching, book-induced episodes of The Ugly Cry ever. At one point the noise I made and the way my body shook scared my husband, leading him to both hug me and offer me a beer.

At Peace was ridiculously heartbreaking, sexy, intense, and I loved every single delicious moment. It is a Kristen Ashley masterpiece.

Favorite Quotes:

  "You don't know, Cal, you have no idea. You've shut yourself up for so long in this fucking house with your tragic memories, you have no idea what's about to walk out your door. Kate, Keira and me, we could have plugged that hole. We could have filled you so full,you'd be bursting. We would have loved that chance. We'd have given it everything we had."

  He was wrong. I remembered. I remembered every second with him, even the ones we weren't having sex, and I missed them. God, so much, I had to bury it, covering it with everything I had so it wouldn't break me. But it all came back, the longing, the hurt, the hungry, everything we were, everything I wanted us to be and it was everything there was.

  "I'm gonna piss you off, honey, probably enough for you to want to leave. I've got a temper and so do you, we're gonna clash. It won't feel good, it'll feel not worth it sometimes but, you leave me, I'll wait for you to come back. And you'll come back because, something we've both learned, this, what we have is worth getting over it. Whatever it is that ticks us off of holds us back, we know it's worth fighting for."

  "Worth the wait," Joe muttered and my head tipped back.
  "Every bit of it. Every day, every week, every year, every fuckin' second, buddy," he kept muttering, his eyes intense, his face serious and my breath caught, "this. All of it. Worth the wait."

Golden Trail (The 'Burg, #3)Series: The 'Burg #3
Genre: Contemporary/Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Kristen Ashley
Publication Date: 7/5/11
Format: ebook
Pages: 611
Source: Purchase
Rating: 5 stars

Tanner Layne and Raquel Merrick fell in love young, hard and fast and both of them knew a beautiful life they thought would be forever.

Until Rocky left Layne, no explanation, no going back.

Layne escapes The ‘Burg only to come back years later because his ex-wife has hooked herself to the town jerk and Layne needs to make sure his sons get raised right. Layne manages to avoid Rocky but when Layne gets three bullets drilled into him while investigating a dirty cop, he can’t do that because Rocky stops avoiding Layne. They make a deal to work together to expose the dirty cop but they have no idea the strength of their enduring attraction or the sheer evil at work in The ‘Burg.

As Tanner Layne and Raquel Merrick play their game and dance around the pull that draws them together, Layne has to discover the dark secrets buried so deep in Rocky’s heart she doesn’t even know they’re there at the same time untangle a sinister web of crime so abhorrent it has to be stopped... at all costs.

And to do it, Layne has to enlist everyone, including his ex-CIA mentor, Rocky’s detective brother, the town’s unpredictable informant and Layne’s two teenage sons all the while stopping Rocky from doing something crazy and keeping their game secret so Layne won't get himself dead


Gawd, I don't even know what to say about The 'Burg series at this point. This series has taken all of my expectations of Kristen Ashley's books and exceeded them.

The 'Burg series is all about second chance love. Layne and Rocky's story was tragic, and I felt every single moment of pain between the two. This one was much like Colt and Feb's book, For You, in that, not only do we get a second chance story, but a story twenty plus years in the making. Layne tried to move on, married, had kids, and divorced, then moved back home to the 'Burg. Rocky faked at moving on, but never got over Tanner Layne, though she was the one that left. The mystery is...why did Rocky leave Layne? It's the cloud hanging over the pair, and the question isn't answered until nearly the end. Grab the tissues, cos that one hurt.

What makes this so heart-wrenching is the depth of emotion Ashley puts into these characters. To see two such worthy and freaking fantastic characters find their way back, was a beautiful experience. But not only is it Layne and Rocky's story, but also his kids. Jasper and Tripp Layne were important to Golden Trail, and I will also say that without them, and the relationship between the two boys, their dad, and Rocky, the story would have been lacking. It's so weird, well, not really weird, but as well as Kristen Ashley writes hot Alpha Men and kickass Ladies, she also writes the hell out of teens. This series is the better for it. The fact that Layne's kids are tied to Cal and Vi's kids (from At Peace), it does great things to my heart.

If you are a Kristen Ashley fan and you haven't read The 'Burg, do yourself a favor and pick this series up.

Favorite Quotes:

  He remembered everything. And she should know that.
  His fingers curled around her neck and he put his forehead to hers before sharing, "I remember, Rocky. I remember everything. I remember every...fucking....thing."

   He looked to his boy. "Yeah?"
  Jasper stared at him, expression hidden except a muscle ticking in his cheek. Finally, he spoke and the words seemed forced out of him. "I'm glad you're proud of me."
  Layne jerked his chin up and started to turn the handle on the door when Jasper finished.
  "'Cause I'm proud of you too."
  A new burn ignited, just in his chest, so hot, he was finding it hard to breathe.

  "Don’t let me leave you,” she whispered so quietly he almost didn’t hear her.
  But he heard her, he not only heard her, he understood what she was saying and his chest seized, his gut twisted but his arms got even tighter.
  “I won’t,” he whispered back, his voice was quiet too and thick.
  "No matter what.” She was still talking low.
   "No matter what,” he replied.
   "I promise, baby.”"

  "Christ,Rocky, I’m in love with you!” he shouted, leaning forward and putting his hands on the bar. "I’ve kissed more than two women and I’ve fucked more too, but I’ve only ever loved you. You cut me up, baby, when you left me. You cut me up bad.” She winced but he kept talking. “So, what’s it say to you I’d take this risk? What’s it tell you? You nearly destroyed me, Rocky, I loved you that much" "...I existed for eighteen years. Now I’m livin’ again. And I like it. I like it so much, it’s worth the risk. You are worth the risk. Yeah, you had to play me because I needed that statement from you, but, baby, I didn’t make you work too hard and you fuckin’ know it. You did that to me and you’re back in my life. Think about that, Roc, give that a second. What’s that say about how I feel about you?"

Games of the Heart (The 'Burg, #4)Series: The 'Burg #4
Genre: Contemporary/Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Kristen Ashley
Publication Date: 3/16/12
Format: ebook
Pages: 268
Source: Purchase
Rating: 5 stars

From the balcony of his house, Mike Haines can see the quiet, commonplace beauty of the Holliday farm. But what he remembers is the little sister of his high school girlfriend, Dusty who grew up there. As a teen, Dusty had gone off the rails but when she was a kid, she was sweet, she was funny and she had a special bond with Mike. But after high school, she took off and Mike never saw her again.

Then tragedy strikes Dusty's family, she comes back into town and Mike thinks she hasn't changed back to the sweet, funny girl he knew but instead continued to be selfish and thoughtless, leaving her family alone to deal with their mourning. So he seeks her out and confronts her in an effort to understand what went wrong and to force her to sort herself out.

He finds out quickly he's wrong about Dusty Holliday. Very wrong. And right after Mike discovers that, the bond they had years before snaps back into place in ways he would never suspect.

But Mike Haines had a bad marriage then he played games of the heart for a good woman. And lost. In order to protect himself and his kids, he's cautious, he's careful to read the signs and he's not interested in finding a woman he has to fix.

Then he learns what happened to Dusty and he thinks she needs to be fixed. He swings, he misses and in this new game of hearts, for Dusty, Mike just got strike three.


Oh Mike Haines, how my feelings have changed for you since At Peace. In that book, all I could see was Cal and Vi, and I did not care if Mike got hurt in their tug of war. I just wanted him out of the way. Happy, sure. But as long as he didn't stand between my beloved Cal and his true love, I was good.

Games of the Heart is Mike's story. And it was so damn good. This series is all about second chances, and GotH is no exception. Mike and Dusty's path is a long and twisty one. Mike dated Dusty's (bitchy) sister in high school, and as a kid she fell in love with the gorgeous, kind boy who always made time to make her feel special. Dusty slipped away, from her family, from Mike, from the 'Burg, but Mike never forgot the beautiful young woman with the voice of an angel. Once they reconnect, Mike seriously messes up with Dusty. Twice. He was so clueless, but when you take into account his history with women and love, it makes a lot of sense.

Fortunately, this story gets down to the business of the two making a solid connection, building a future amongst his ex, his kids, her (bitchy) sister who's out to destroy the family farm, her nephews, her ex, and shady developers. Mike and Dusty obviously have a lot going on, but as always, the beauty in a Kristen Ashley story is experiencing the beautiful love story. As an added bonus, we also get a beautiful young love story as well, between Mike's daughter Clarisse and Dusty's nephew, Fin. And honestly, that sweet and thoughtful story of young love is what took Games of the Heart to a remarkable new level. And the epilogue? Kristen Ashley is known and loved for her brilliant epilogues. This one is beyond a doubt one of my very favorites. I sobbed happy tears throughout. Perfection.

Games of the Heart is another beautiful addition to The 'Burg series. I would be hard-pressed to say that this isn't my favorite of all of Ashley's series. Sadly, I am current on the series and will truly miss it. Thankfully, I have another book to look forward to in the near(-ish) future.

Favorite Quotes:

  Right, I should probably not pray go God to give me great sex but, seriously, He created Mike and gave him his abilities, He had to know a woman would want more.

 "Girl next door,” Cal muttered through his grin and, getting it not to mention annoyed as fuck by it, Mike sat back in his chair. "What’d I say?” he went on to ask.
  "Are we seriously doing this?” Mike asked back.
 "What’d I say?” Cal repeated. Fuck, they were doing this. "Mine moved in right next door, man. Sounds of it, yours did too,” Cal stated.
  "Fuck me, The Lone Wolf is gossiping."

  His kiss was a once in a lifetime kiss. It was the kind of thorough, heart-melting, stomach-plummeting, mind-numbing, soul-enriching kiss that altered lives. And I swear to God, it altered two, right there, in Mike's kitchen. His and mine.

  And it hit him then, something he'd known for twenty-five years about Dusty but something he only understood right at that moment about the three people most important in his life. Dusty's voice, her pottery, her drawings, her writing. His son's drums, guitar, keyboards. His daughter's writing. He was surrounded by people who were extraordinarily gifted. Everything they did was beyond the pale. His life was touched all around by genius.  
And Mike knew what he was seeing and how it made him feel was burning itself on his brain forever. Because in that moment, watching and listening, he was profoundly moved that God had seen fit to gift him, an ordinary man, an Indiana boy through and through, with these people in his life.

The 'Burg Series

For You (The 'Burg, #1)   At Peace (The 'Burg, #2)  Golden Trail (The 'Burg, #3)  Games of the Heart (The 'Burg, #4)

Frankie and Benny (The 'Burg #5)
Purchase The 'Burg Series

About the author

Kristen AshleyKristen 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.

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  1. Wow. I don't have time to read and review a singe book and you're pulling out whole series. I admire you. Anyhow I have never heard of this story but it sounds like something I might enjoy. I love tragic stories with lots of emotions and rich characters. Great review, Andrea :)

  2. Whew, nice reviews! Sounds like a great series. I like the nice mix of suspense and romance. Makes me even more curious!!


  3. I still gotta give the first book another go. I dunno why, but I just couldn't get into it. But I effin' loved Cal and Mikes book! Want more! I'm scared! I"m running outta Kristen Ashley books to read, almost through all her books. Ahhhhhhhh!

  4. I love it when you find and author you adore and then read a series that somehow makes you love them even more! Wonderful reviews Andrea!

  5. Whoa! Talk about binge reading! As you know, I haven't read any of her books and as I love romantic suspense, I think this is where I'll start. I like 'em dark & dangerous.

  6. Wow Andrea! I wish I could read s fast as you!!! This series sounds awesome and very different from all of her other ones. I like dark, and suspenseful! I love all you K.A. reviews! I can tell how passionate you are about her books! Awesome Reviews Friend :)

  7. Nice post, pal!

    I'm glad you enjoyed this and it was more sweet than sorrow.

  8. Oh my! KA exceeded your expectations?!? This just might be your favorite KA series?!? I love your reviews, Andrea. I'm thrilled that KA didn't let you down. And I honestly can't wait to get started on a KA series!

    I also love that your hubs offered you a hug and a beer! LOL ;) That's quite a guy!

  9. Wow loved these and it shows. Wonderful and I so love all the quotes you shared.Your hubby is a sweetie :)

  10. Yet another KA series to add to my list. LOL You'll have to keep me in line with all these series.

  11. As you know, I LOVED For You, and I agree it was bittersweet! My heart aches for all the time lost for Feb and Colt because of that psycho! I'm now a little nervous to pick up At Peace. Ugly cry? Uh oh! Wonderful reviews, Andrea. I hear this series is a favorite of a lot of KA fans. :)

  12. Awesome reviews Adrea. Every time I visit you my TBR list gets longer and longer. I am really looking forward to reading more from this author - going to do the motorcycle ones first :)


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